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OPINION: F1’s Media Strategy is Adding Cinematic Passion to Motorsports

Written by Leticia Matteo, Edited by Meghana Sree

If there is one market that’s always evolving, it's the entertainment industry. With massive productions, blinding lights, theatrics, and big billboards, showbiz remains relevant worldwide. Marketing is one powerful tool that drives the industry, and every aspect of 21st century society is defined by it. Even Formula 1 can't deny that.

A well known fact is that, these past few years, Liberty Media has invested tremendously in their strategy to expand their audience as well as rebuild the narrative of a sport once considered for only 'old people'. Liberty's main plan of action consists of investing in live broadcast — F1 TV being the prime example —, their social media platforms’ strong and growing presence, and capitalising on trends. So far, results have brought in a younger loyal public, have built a safer space for women in motorsports, and additionally, F1 now has its own documentary-style series called ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ as a Netflix Original.

Movie Rush Photography insert / Universal Pictures

The path being carved out by Liberty Media and F1 opens up new worlds of opportunities, ones that shall go beyond what fans can imagine. This renewed openness could — and probably will — lead to exposure. The next logical step from a marketing point of view would be to carry the action on track to the silver screens.

Who doesn't enjoy cinema's wonders, behind-the-scenes stories, and biopic exclusives? Considering all the on-screen hype that motorsport is gathering, would it be wild to assume viewers will soon see racing having its golden moment in films? ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ (2018) exceeded expectations in bringing more fans, Rush (2013) portrayed a remarkable battle with skill and authenticity, Senna (2010) has depicted extensively an icon's legacy, and Ford vs Ferrari (2019) had an incredible photography direction alongside its gripping plot.

Moreover, so many more audiovisual pieces have helped cement such a dynamic, memorable, and ultimately, fun sport in the minds of the larger audiences.

Ford vs Ferrari Photography; Photo Credits by Merrick Morton - © 20th Century Fox

The Formula 1 world holds so many stories yet untold, making enthusiasts wonder which ones can be making it to movie theatres next. Gran Turismo (2023) directed by Neill Blomkamp just debuted worldwide, starring names such as David Harbour and Orlando Bloom, both well known on the red carpets. An era showcasing possible creative fields and more exposure is closer when having those massive personas associating with motorsports.

Sports in general are rarely affiliated with art but, by proposing that various racing categories are intrinsically meaningful thought processes with the potential for a good narrative, can change the game. Action, excitement, and jubilation stand half as much the dedication contained within this community. Acknowledging this factor would alter the creative mindset and could lead to more films based on racing.

Joseph Kosinski's New Film; Image / Photo Credits by Ryan Pierse - Getty Images Sport

Taking everything into account, it is expected that Joseph Kosinski's new F1 movie will become a hit. It has all the necessary ingredients, for example, an actor like Brad Pitt's main character portrayal, a renowned director — one whose credits line up Top Gun: Maverick's posters —, Lewis Hamilton as an on-board producer, paired with the crew’s presence during official Grand Prix weekends to record scenes. Again, big personas are entering the racing spectrum, something that could only be beneficial in the long run.

Cinematic knowledge goes beyond a surface level, extending through wildly different areas like photography, screenwriting, acting, audio and so much more. This craft would contribute to immortalising the decades of victories, hardships, tears, and joys witnessed at the grandstands or on TV screens.

Amidst 2023's F1 season that’s currently underway, spectators should keep an eye out for everything that could come up in the future: secret projects, deals being signed, and the shakes of hands signalling new productions. Whether desired or not, this sport cannot stay confined in an eggshell, for the growth of the audience and fanbase is inevitable, and media strategies as well as creative adaptations are only making the wheels spin faster to make this happen.


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