Formula 1's embrace of social media engineers immediate results as Australian Grand Prix drives record weekend

 
Joe Hall
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Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettal Formula 1
Fan boys: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel's performances caught fans' imagination (Source: Getty)

Formula 1's new owners Liberty Media have got off to a fast start in their plans to drive the sport's digital growth, after fans reacted in record numbers to the 2017 Championship's opening weekend in Melbourne on social media.

The Australian Grand Prix, won by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, triggered a record number of interactions on social media for F1.

Over the weekend the sport's official channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram generated 230m impressions, 6m engagements and 27m video views.

Read more: Lewis and Liberty - Can Hamilton drive Formula One's new owners into a digital future?

Vettel's victory, his first since September 2015, hinted at a more competitive F1 not as dominated by Hamilton's Mercedes as in recent seasons.

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The Tweet announcing his victory was the most popular of the weekend.

Social media favourite Hamilton, who has more followers across the three platforms than F1's official pages, also drove interest by matching Ayrton Senna's record six pole positions in Australia.

Since buying F1 for $4.4bn in January, Liberty signalled their intention to change the sport's approach to social media — viewed with scepticism by former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"This opening race weekend has demonstrated the thirst and enthusiasm for Formula 1 content across social media," said Sean Bratches, F1's recently-appointed managing director of communications

The Liberty hire, who previously led ESPN's expansion into the digital space, added: "We recognise the importance of using platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to bring Formula 1 fans closer to the action at each race and it is great to see record numbers of fans engaging with out channels.

"We are looking forward to taking this to the next level over the course of the season."

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