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Customer Success

How Formula 1 Drives Greater Fan Engagement

Quick take: Amid rapid growth,the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition uncovered a unique opportunity to use real-time data to create personalized, high-performance digital experiences for over 500 million global fans. This week at TrailblazerDX ‘23, Formula 1 will share why it turned to Salesforce to help handle accelerated growth.

A large part of Formula 1’s recent expansion can be attributed to Netflix’s highly-popular docuseries “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” which drove a wave of brand new F1 fans thanks to cinematic – and oftentimes dramatic – behind-the-scenes footage and access to some of the sport’s biggest names. 

F1’s growth spiked in 2019 when and where the docuseries originally aired — the United States. Fifty percent of U.S. adults who identified as fans of F1 said they became fans within the past four years, according to a September 2022 survey conducted by F1 across seven markets.

F1’s “Drive to Survive” Season 4, which aired in 2022, was its best performing series yet, reaching number one worldwide on Netflix and breaking into the weekly Top 10 in 56 countries. 

With its fan base growing quickly, F1 began conducting a transformation to better understand its new viewers and connect with them – both in-person and digitally – at scale.

F1 goes digital

Today, millennials power 77% of F1’s audience growth and, according to Salesforce’s latest Connected Customer report, 65% of them prefer to engage with a brand through digital channels.

Armed with this information and trove of first-party data, F1 turned to Salesforce to help formulate a plan to engage these new fans more deeply.

Together, F1 and Salesforce charted a course to build engagement that would stand the test of time — taking the current wave of popularity and using it to ensure a successful future for the racing brand. 

The resulting strategy leveraged intelligent, personalized, and data-driven connections with their fans, who were becoming younger and more diverse, and were leveraging new channels – like social media and streaming services – to interact with their brand.

With over 99% of F1 fans tuning in remotely, the online experience we created with F1 has never been more important than it is today

Zahra Bahrololoumi, EVP & CEO, UKI, Salesforce

Creating actionable insights 

With the power of Salesforce Customer 360 and Data Cloud, F1 is creating a deeper understanding of each fan across every channel — both physical and digital. Through Salesforce, F1 has created a single source of truth to better understand their fans, deliver personalized communication and connection, drive efficiencies across their organization, and optimize decision making. 

Partners including Ogilvy Consulting and Talkative helped F1 quickly scale with Salesforce by bringing the customer journeys of its fans onto Salesforce and improving support and user experience through and F1 TV. F1 also turned to Salesforce Professional Services to co-create a clearer roadmap of the ultimate fan experience, desired future state, and technology that will enable that vision worldwide.

Salesforce’s automation capabilities help F1 deliver scalable, hyper-personalized, and real-time experiences, and Salesforce’s unified platform effectively stores and maintains fan data to create a connected experience — no matter where they’re watching the action.

Through our work with Salesforce, we have created more meaningful relationships with our fans and are empowered to make intelligent, data-driven decisions to identify the best ways to connect with viewers we have existing relationships with and build new ones

Zarah Al-Kudcy, Head of Commercial Partnerships, Formula 1

Establishing long-term success

Today, F1 arguably has greater business momentum and brand recognition in the United States than ever before — but the work, like an F1 season, is a long game.

“F1 is on a mission to deliver a world-class fan experience by increasing and deepening the intensity of fan engagement, and converting that engagement into brand loyalty and new opportunity,” said Al-Kudcy. 

The racing brand is also working with Salesforce to gain actionable insights from its carbon footprint, helping to accelerate its mission to reach net zero emissions by 2030.

By using Salesforce technology, F1 is not only striving to meet the expectations of a swath of new racing fans, they’re hoping to create fans for life.

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