F1 CEO Surprised Over Lack of Lewis Hamilton’s Popularity

Published 10/29/2021, 8:55 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race with McLaren’s Lando Norris who finished P7 REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


Lewis Hamilton is only the third most popular driver in the world. In a recently published survey, the seven-time world champion has ranked behind Max Verstappen and the young Lando Norris.

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Verstappen is the current championship leader and has been a major name in the F1 world for many years. But Lando Norris’ career in a Formula 1 car is only two seasons old. Naturally, the results surprised many people, including the current CEO of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali.

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Norris appeals more to the young fans

One of the main reasons for Norris being the second most popular driver in the world is because young fans connect more to him.

After admitting his surprise to the results, Domenicali also put things in perspective, “But on the other hand, if you think about the demographic of the people that are more involved in these kind of [votes], I think that you understand why Lando has a great audience, in that respect.”

“It’s more connected to the fact that he has an approach with them that is fresh, in a way that is more close to the people that are following that. That is my personal view“, he said to Motorsports.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 29, 2021 A sign with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris names is seen on the stands REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The young McLaren driver has a strong social media presence and he regularly takes part in activities like streaming and e-sports.

WATCH: Lando Norris Subtly Makes Fun of His Scary F1 Crash at Belgian GP

Hamilton no longer the face of Formula 1?

Lewis Hamilton has been the poster boy of the sport for most of his career. He enjoys a celebrity-like status that many other drivers on the grid are undoubtedly envious of. The Mercedes driver is very much in touch with pop culture too. He has appeared several times on Late Night Television and fashion events like MET Gala.

But if the demographics of the voters are taken into consideration, Hamilton narrowly beating Norris in the UK or falling 1.6% behind Verstappen doesn’t sound all that surprising.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala – Met Gala – In America: A Lexicon of Fashion – Arrivals – New York City, U.S. – September 13, 2021. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

According to the survey’s results, Formula 1 has seen an increase in young fans. The average voting age has also reduced by four years, from 36 to 32. Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ can certainly be a contributor to this shift.

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As Hamilton steps into the twilight years of his career, after claiming almost every record in the book, his decline in popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise.

In fact, it should be accepted because the sport is moving ahead with younger drivers and younger fans. With Senna in the 80s, Schumacher in the 90s, and Hamilton himself in the 2010s, it has always been the younger drivers who have taken the sport forward.

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And it will be upon younger drivers like Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc to lead Formula 1 into its future.

 

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Shaharyar

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