The recent decision to stop using grid girls may have polarized fans, but that isn’t stopping Liberty Media pushing ahead with their efforts to improve the experience at the track this year.
Since taking over the sport in January 2017, Liberty Media have been accused of many things. Inaction isn’t one of them. Over the past 12 months, Liberty have invested heavily in areas previously neglected under Bernie Ecclestone (especially marketing and digital) and even closed out their debut season with a new logo and branding. Ahead of the new season, we’ve already seen the announcement of F1 TV, a new streaming service for 2018, which “marks F1’s biggest investment in its digital transformation to date.”
Definitely not afraid to experiment with improving the spectacle, as evidenced by the “let’s get ready to rumble” pre-race show at last year’s US Grand Prix and DJ Hardwell on the podium decks at the Mexican Grand Prix, what do Liberty have in store for the trackside experience this year? In an interview with Motorsport.com about changes to Formula 1’s TV coverage in 2018, F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches gave some insight into Liberty’s trackside plans: “We are detonating the fan zones at GPs. We have just launched Hot Laps, which will be epic. We are also totally reappraising the Paddock Club.”
Formula 1’s “Official Ticket and Travel Package Program” was launched last year, of course, but has expanded for 2018. Packages (starting at $699 USD) are being offered to 19 out of 21 races this year and include unique activities such as laps of the track on the back of a flatbed truck, guided tours of the F1 paddock and regular driver meet and greets. The F1 Experiences offer also includes the possibility of a ride in an F1 two-seater on a Grand Prix weekend, a bucket list item that money can now actually buy. F1 Experiences is closely aligned to the hospitality side of Formula 1, but Liberty’s plans to “totally reappraise the Paddock Club” have not yet been announced. (Disclaimer: we have an advertising relationship with F1 Experiences)