Fans deliver worrying verdict on F1 2024 so far


Formula 1 fans have delivered a worrying verdict on the 2024 season so far, in a poll that received over 150,000 responses.

Around 61% of the respondents to our YouTube poll said they were ‘less excited’ for the rest of the 2024 F1 season versus their pre-season expectations.

That compared to 32% who said it was the ‘same as before’, and a slender 7% of participants who said they were ‘more excited’ now.

What the fans said

Over 1,100 comments were left on the poll – these were some of the most popular responses:

User @johanfernandez4616 said “I had low expectations, but damn I was disappointed” while another, @definitely_not_nick41, labelled 2024 “like an unskippable ad, nothing changed in the official driver line-up, no new tracks, more Red Bull domination, F2 and F3 is better off being the premier event of the weekend rather than F1”.

@kityhawk2000 said “the internal drama with Red Bull is far more entertaining than anything on track,” while @momoloco99rh feels “like the 2023 season never ended” based on how the opening two races have gone.

Some of the criticism was centred around the lack of a title fight and a predictable winner week in week out, frustrating even those who have witnessed previous periods of F1 domination.

@amato5232 said: “I love F1, I’ve only missed one race since 1996, but this Max domination is really testing my love for the sport. I know it goes on cycles, I’ve done the [Michael] Schumacher, [Sebastian] Vettel, and [Lewis] Hamilton domination, but this time it just feels a bit more ominous. Maybe I’m just getting old.”

@ablordenutefe2046 said: “I’m less excited, not because Max is winning. I like Max. It’s because he lacks a proper rival with whom he’ll have a proper battle-for-the-lead with, to make the show more interesting.”

But for others it’s not even that one driver and team is dominating. “My issue isn’t that there is one dominant driver, it is that there are no overtly fun battles, crazy overtakes, or drama,” @evaspadt2055 explained.

@ZedEdd said they’re “ready for 2025” just two races into this season, and perhaps most worryingly for F1, there were plenty of fans saying they’re no longer willing to pay to watch F1.

“Probably not renewing F1 TV in April, but awaiting another race just to be sure. So far it’s a yawn-fest,” said @RedWagon888. Backing them up was @invisiblekid99, saying they’ve “cancelled Sky Sport [UK broadcaster for F1]. So that says enough”.

The concern for F1

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Red Bull’s domination and a predictable winner were the most common reasons given for the lessened excitement.

Now, it’s not F1’s fault that Red Bull is dominating. As myself and many of my colleagues have said time and time again Red Bull deserves its F1 success after building the best car for these regulations three years in a row.

So too does Max Verstappen, who has elevated a dominant car far beyond the reach of his team-mate Sergio Perez and any of Red Bull’s rivals, having won 19 of the last 20 grands prix.

I don’t believe you should penalise Red Bull for its success by taking drastic measures to peg them back. It’s down to Red Bull’s rivals to catch up and do the kind of job Red Bull’s been consistently doing in this era.

With the implementation of the cost cap, there has been a concerted valid effort to close up the field. And the F1 grid front to back is essentially closer than ever – it’s just unfortunate the gap from first to second is the biggest in the field.

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Closing that second-to-first gap is inevitably going to take time and a big change of variables (potentially 2026?) or theoretically enough time for convergence (F1 will be hoping this is 2024/25).

But do F1 fans have the patience to sit through the whole of a 24-race season before that happens? Or another 24-race 2025 season after that if Red Bull’s rivals can’t make up the ground until the new regulations in 2026?

That will be a question F1’s commercial rights holder will have been asking itself since Verstappen and Red Bull first stole a march on the opposition in mid-2022. Our poll certainly suggests, as you’d expect, that the patience of fans is being seriously tested.

In the short-term at least F1 is limited in what it can do and the answers are anything but obvious.

Having said that there are certain areas it can sharpen up. For example, the race broadcasts, where it must make sure fans are served the actual highlights and on-track action all the way up and down the field. At times it felt like F1 races are shown to be more boring than they actually are because key action is missed. How many times has F1 been focussing on a static battle while you can notice unsighted cars frantically swapping places on the timing tower?

There’s no shortage of stars either that it can capitalise on and use better than being limited to a humdrum Thursday press conference seen by few fans. At least there’s been no shortage of driver market excitement and that will no doubt continue through 2024.

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A lot of the pieces are in the right place but in a season of domination and predictable results, that’s overridden for many fans.

That’s only going to increase F1’s temptation to intervene in a more artificial way. Whether it be a change in the weekend format like reverse grids to make Verstappen’s path to victory more difficult or a technical rule tweak that’s designed to trip up Red Bull, something there is precedent for – see the 2005 ban on changing tyres in a race to thwart Ferrari and Michael Schumacher’s domination in the mid-2000s.

You could even extend the disparities in allowed windtunnel times between the teams at the next reset of the aerodynamic testing restrictions totals.

All those solutions have complications. Even putting aside the fact there’s no guarantee they’d stop Red Bull, it would feel incredibly artificial to end Red Bull’s juggernaut with those kinds of methods, rather than waiting for the more preordained, well-thought-out 2026 regulations.

But as for the current state of things, a sizeable portion of fans have made their view clear – and undoubtedly will continue to do so across social media, surveys, subscription cancellations, ticket sales and viewing figures.

The answers are far from easy but it’s up to F1 – and arguably Red Bull’s rivals – to find them quickly or the excitement-sapping of fans will translate into them switching off until 2026 – or for good.



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