Nielsen — Netflix’s ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ Ups Sport’s Popularity in U.S.

Netflix recently announced seasons five and six extensions for its “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” auto racing reality series. The series renewals underscore the show’s popularity on Netflix and general impact on the largely global sport within a U.S. market more familiar with NASCAR and Indy racing.

New data from Nielsen finds that 34% of Netflix viewers became fans of F1 racing after watching the series. Another 30% said they understood the sport more, and 29% said they felt more engaged with the sport.

The analysis, which looked at F1 viewership during three specific periods, found that more than 360,000 viewers who didn’t view F1 in the latter part of the 2021 season, watched F1 racing in 2022 after first watching “Drive to Survive.”

Indeed, the most recent season four premiere generated about 475,000 first-week viewers on Netflix, which compared with about 280,000 viewers for the first week of season one in 2019.

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According to Nielsen data, nearly 16 million people watched at least part of the F1 content between Nov. 19, 2021, and Dec. 12, 2021; all seasons of “Drive to Survive” between Dec. 13, 2021, and March 17, 2022, and F1 auto racing events between March 18 to April 10, 2022

Of those 16 million, 2.3% did not watch any of the last three race weekends of 2021 F1 programming, highlighting that the Netflix series generated more than 360,000 new fans of F1 ahead of the Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix, which begins May 13.

Indeed, fan interest in F1 racing has increased from 44.9 million in 2019, to 49.2 million this year — much of it due to the Netflix show, according to Nielsen.

“When we look at viewership of just the docuseries and the new F1 season, which kicked off in mid-March, we see that 41% of ‘Drive to Survive’ viewers also tuned in to the first three weeks of the new F1 season,” read the report.