F1 blames Vettel for reduced viewing figures

Monday 03rd February 2014, 17:38 by Ryan Wood 

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Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's domination of Formula 1 in 2013 was the primary cause for a reduced television audience, according to an official report.

The 2013 Global Media Report published by F1's commercial division revealed that the sport suffered a drop of over 50 million viewers when compared to 2012.

Bernie Ecclestone blamed the fall on Vettel winning the championship before the end of the season, but added that a smaller calendar also contributed.

"Last season our global audience was 450 million viewers, a decrease compared to 2012, although not an unexpected one," he said.

"The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach.

"The overall effect was exaggerated further still when you consider that the calendar was one race shorter in 2013."

The sport suffered major falls in several key markets including France (down from 27m to 10m); Germany (down from 35m to 31m); China (down from 30m to 19m) and Brazil (down from 81m to 77m).

However, the United Kingdom enjoyed a boost with a 2 per cent rise to 29m whilst the United States rose 18 per cent to 11.4m and Italy rose to 35.8m.

Ecclestone welcomed the upcoming changes for 2014, which includes a new V6 engine, which he believes will boost audience figures.

"It is timely developments like these that keep Formula 1 at the forefront of sustainable and relevant technology," he added.

"One thing I am sure of is that this coming season will not only offer a heightened level of unpredictability but renewed excitement and fierce competition."

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