With the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, scheduled to kick off the season in March, and the start of the campaign postponed until July, no Formula 1 races were held in the first half of 2020.
However, although that interruption could have caused a drastic drop in audience figures, the F1 reported a slight decline compared to 2019, with an audience still in line with previous years.
Total television audience in 2020 was 1.5 billion viewers, up from 1.9 billion in 2019.
However, with only 17 races last year, for the 21 events of the previous season, the drop in the average viewership per race is not that great.
The average number of viewers per race was 87.4 million last year, 4.5% less than in 2019.
Compared to the 87 million average in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the 80 million in 2014 and 2015, the figure is not too surprising considering the unusualness of the season.
The most watched Grand Prix was the Hungarian Grand Prix, which drew 103.7 million viewers, 7% more than the event won in 2019.
Portugal’s drew 100.5 million viewers, Sakhir’s garnered 98.1 million and Turkey’s was viewed by 89.1 million viewers.
In some territories the audience figures saw an increase, as in China, which was up 43% compared to the previous year. In the Netherlands it grew by 28%, while in Great Britain (10%), Russia (71%) and Germany (5%) it also increased.
The CEO of F1, Stefano Domenicali, noted that last year’s audience figures are proof of the strength of the championship, which could have been in serious trouble if the season had been suspended.
“Last year was an unprecedented time for everyone, and Formula 1 had to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.
“We managed to do 17 races, something that many thought was impossible at the beginning of the year. We did it safely and brought excitement and new races to our fans around the world.”
“The 2020 audience figures show the strength and endurance of our sport, with an average 2020 figure of 87.4 million and a cumulative total audience for the season of 1.5 billion.”
“We are proud of what we have achieved in 2020 and we know we have a very strong fan base and audience platform that will grow in the years to come.”
“We are delighted that our fans are satisfied with this sport, our season and the way we responded to the global pandemic. We are looking forward to the 2021 season after the winter break and we know that our fans are as excited as we are to start to compete”.