Julien Fébreau “happy” with the popularity of F1 a few hours before the French Grand Prix in 2022

In fact, the discipline may never have been as popular as it is today. This is confirmed by the famous Canal + consultant in an exciting telephone interview.

The famous meeting at the first corner almost turned into a disaster at Silverstone. But in the finish we followed a magnificent race. The F1 enthusiast you are must have been enchanted?

Julien Fébreau: Yes, from the moment we were assured of Zhou and Albon’s health (victims of a terrible accident in the first place, editor’s note), it was easy to enjoy what the drivers gave us. We had an exceptional race with many overtaking and cars a few inches apart. We enjoyed experiencing it live. And we were entitled to the full range of what F1 has to offer.

We understand why the audience explodes …

Of course. We already started from a solid base when we took over F1 in 2013. But there we made more than 50% in two years. And 2022 has got off to an incredible start. But above all, I measure the rejuvenation and feminization of F1 followers. Especially on social networks. I read that women tell their husbands that they should not plan anything on Sundays when there is a big prize (laughs). And I get messages from children aged 13-14 years who do not miss a race. These are good indicators. The more people are passionate about F1, the happier I am.

These good audiences are the consequence of the show’s return to the track and the excitement of the races, but also the fruit of a Netflix effect. The ‘Drive to survive’ series had a crazy effect on F1, right?

There are several options, and Netflix is ​​one of them. There is, of course, a Netflix effect, but there has also been a containment effect. When people had exhausted all the series, they went up a lot in video games. Especially for those in F1. And then it is also one of the sports that was resumed among the first. We finally watched sports live on TV. Finally, there was last season’s crazy scenario in the battle for the title between Hamilton and Verstappen (won at the last Grand Prix by the Dutchman, editor’s note). So I do not want to say that the planets have adjusted, but …

The other side of the coin, this renewed interest, places the initiators in a weak position in the negotiations they are conducting with Liberty Media. And the Spa and Le Castellet Grand Prix may disappear from the calendar next season …

We will already wait for the decision before we talk about it. There are ongoing negotiations. But I can only wish that they be maintained. The Grand Prix de France is a historic Grand Prix. France is a country of cars and has more than its place (on the calendar). Now F1 is also a business. Inheritance, history, are not the only ones to be considered.

At the risk of moving away from its European roots with this desire expressed by Liberty Media to make it a show similar to the Super Bowl. La Rascasse, Raidillon de l’Eau-Rouge and Signes, it’s something other than Miami’s fake marina, isn’t it?

Many things did not work in Miami, but others were amazing. Should we complain about seeing Michelle Obama or Michael Jordan interested in F1? And then F1 goes to all continents. We might also expect him on the African continent next season (with a return to South Africa, thirty years after Prost’s victory in Kyalami). Should all the roots be sacrificed afterwards? Probably not. But the story unfolds. You need a mix of different formats and different atmospheres. And all this is not incompatible. The two must live together.

Except that there is no room for everyone …

This is why the changeover (of a presence on the calendar one out of two years) can be an interesting operation. A good solution that makes the event even more unique.

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