We all have our F1 favourites. Some are based on personal preferences, attitudes, driving styles… even facial hair. This got me thinking. Who is the most favourite? The favouritist… and how can I work this out?

Twitter seems to be the source of many news stories at the moment, especially within the sporting world, and F1 is no exception to this. Many of us now use Twitter as the second screen whilst watching F1. We debate and discuss, criticise and praise. With the majority of drivers on the grid happy to share their lives thoughts and (cough) car telemetry on this social networking site, it seemed that using this as a gauge for establishing popularity/controversy around the drivers might not be a bad idea.

For the sake of having manageable data, I have looked at the period March 1st through to October, thus covering the entire season and the few weeks leading up to the Australian GP earlier this year.

So who’s missing?

Horner Tweeting? Credit: @CraigNormanF1

Working in social media and being a big F1 fan, I foolishly assumed that all the drivers would be on Twitter. I mean, everyone is… right?
Well, no. They’re not.  In fact, of the 6 World Champions on the grid, 3 are not present on Twitter. Messrs; Schumacher, Raikkonen and Vettel are not on Twitter, with the later claiming that he “prefer(s) to have personal contact with the fans, for example in the autograph signings” (sic).

The Teams…

Unlike the drivers, all of the teams are present on Twitter, with some having more than one Twitter handle. In April of this year, fellow sett dweller Rachel Clarke wrote a piece on how the different teams were using Twitter to connect with their fans, concluding that Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren were the pack leaders. The below chart shows the teams, there handles, levels of engagement (@mentions and retweets), number of followers and the ratio between followers and engagement across the season so far.

Team
Handle
Mentions
Retweets
Total Engagement
Followers
Ratio
Lotus RenaultLotus_F1Team99990870691870591457051.28
Sauber FerrariOfficialSF1Team413204020781527841070.97
Williams RenaultWilliamsF1Team352643279468058780550.87
FerrariInsideFerrari1029181610342639523554090.74
HRT CosworthHRTF1Team222321608638318657610.58
Red Bull RenaultRedBullRacing53085469411000261734360.58
McLaren MercedesTheFifthDriver70709642311349402484010.54
MercedesMercedesAMGF13891338595775081585050.49
Marussia CosworthMarussia_F1Team225291805240581861230.47
Caterham RenaultMyCaterhamF1181411193630077898950.33
Force India Mercedesclubforce15345973225077846180.3
Toro Rosso FerrariToroRossoSpy260111293730531220.07

The first thing that stands out is that Lotus is the only team to generate a ratio of followers to engagement of more than one. That means that, on average each follower of the Lotus Renault team has engaged with the team’s Twitter channel at least once since March. However, this doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Ferrari and McLaren have the most followers, with the Maranello outfit generating comfortably more retweets and mentions than the other teams. Those who need to perform better include Toro Rosso, Force India, and Caterham. Big kudos to HRT too, who despite its perennial proper-upper status manage to finish 8th in terms of engagement and 5th in terms of follower/engagement ratio.

The below shows the combined Retweets and @mentions for all teams over the season so far.

Unsurprisingly, we can see key peaks in activity over race weekends, with the Malaysian, Spanish, European and Belgian Grand Prix especially generating notably higher peaks.

Ferrari’s wins in Malaysia and Valencia generated much reaction from its followers with the following two tweets generating nearly 2000 retweets between them.

 

Fernando Alonso’s close brush with the bottom of Grosjean’s Lotus and his subsequent Tweet to his followers was the higest individual in team mentions throughout the season.

 

 

In Spain, Pastor Maldonado’s glorius maiden victory and the subsequent fire in the pit lane generating a large number of mentions. Analysis of the mentions below suggest that the win was a popular one amogst the Twitterati, with terms such as “Congratulations, great and fantastic all commonly used in mentions of the team.

The Drivers…

Using the same methodology as with the teams, the grid looks something like this…

Driver
Handle
Mentions
Retweets
Total Engagement
Followers
Ratio
Fernando Alonsoalo_oficial948833454302140313511755981.19
Sergio PerezSChecoPerez241143759683171113219800.98
Romain GrosjeanRgrosjean482042334971553847680.84
Kamui Kobayashikamui_kobayashi360321476950801842960.6
Felipe MassaFelipe1Massa84637278811125181914580.59
Lewis HamiltonLewisHamilton39559718824758384411571510.5
Charles PicCharles_Pic164469687414213790.35
Mark WebberAussieGrit101267557001569674642820.34
Daniel Ricciardodanielricciardo12923382516748497690.34
Jenson ButoonJensonButton28748811509740258512013810.34
Jean-Eric Vergnejeanericvergne838112649645352870.27
Pedro De La RosaPedrodelaRosa13392810228441561870500.24
Nico Rosbergnico_rosberg3399513342473372108870.22
Paul Di Restapauldirestaf1302065568357741684800.21
Jerome d'Ambrosiothereal_JDA46893155004237730.21
Heikki KovalainenH_Kovalainen307636829375921860730.2
Pastor MaldonadoPastormaldo3550413498490022860720.17
Vitaly Petrovvitalypetrovrus142624040183021077820.17
Nico HulkenbergNicoHulkenberg12688292215610928390.17
Timo GlockrealTimoGlock9712209611808876010.13
Bruno SennaBSenna4489717692625895089690.12
Narain Karthikeyannarainracing713497281061479680.05

But who’s under-performing? Step forward (much like real life) Bruno Senna and Narian Karthikeyan, who despite having a strong number of followers each (Bruno has over half a million!), fail to generate much interest.Once again, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso in particular rule the roost. Fernando has the highest number of retweets and mentions, but is piped in the number of followers by Jenson Button by a mere 25,000. Let’s just hope they have notifications turned off on their phones!

The below graphing shows the combined engagement for all drivers across the season…

Much like interaction with teams, we can see that activity is closely related to races throughout the calendar, with Malaysia, Europe, Belgium and Italy all notably higher peaks.

The most interesting though is again the Spanish Grand Prix where Pastor Maldonado’s win generated a large number of retweets, the most of any driver throughout the season.

 

 

 

“Today Venezuela shines in the world, I am proud to be Venezuelan and part of the golden generation. Viva Venezuela.”

“I am grateful for all the great support of our PDVSA the petrol of Williams and most Venezuelan drivers ….”

And I am especially grateful to President Chavez and his great team for making this a historic achievement for Venezuela

These three Tweets generated a huge reaction from Pastor’s Venezuelan following, with a total of nearly 9000 total retweets.

Conclusions…

There is no doubt that there is a love affair between Twitter and Formula1. There were over 11 million mentions of Formula One on the social networking channel between March and now.

This season, Lotus, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso are the leaders in the social space in terms of interesting content and outright popularity, although notable mentions should also go to Sauber and Sergio Perez, who, much like in real life, are punching above their weight. As time passes, it’s likely that more drivers will start using this, and other, social channels to hopefully give us fans a further insight into what it’s like to be n F1 driver, and I for one can’t wait!

 

    • Avatar of The Badger

      Foolish? Nick’s no fool. It still amazes me that such top level sports people get away with not being on Twitter/FB – even having a presence run by a media team would be better than nothing…

  1. It was an assumption on my part… but I was more surprised than anything else, especially given how media savvy Red Bull are (In Vettel’s case). the lack of Kimi and Schumi are probably too cool/too old to care. Although Kimi on Twitter would be amazing.

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