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Fernando Alonso

Why Alonso believes modern F1 fans are like football supporters

Formula 1 has attracted a huge number of new fans since Liberty Media took over the running of the sport in 2016. But Fernando Alonso believes that many of F1's new followers don't have the same level of attachment to the sport as their predecessors did.

Alonso Canada
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Fernando Alonso thinks that the modern generation of F1 fan doesn't have the same appreciation or depth of knowledge as fans of previous eras.

Since assuming control of F1 in 2016, Liberty Media have sought to widen the sport's fanbase, using platforms such as Netflix and esports to increase Formula 1's appeal.

But while F1 has seen a vast growth in fans and revenue in recent years, Alonso feels that many of the sport's new followers are not as deeply invested as the previous generation of fans were.

"I think that the fans that we have now, there are new fans and in a way – and I don't want to lack respect to them – but they don't know much about Formula 1," Alonso told The Race.

"They just are more like a football kind of fan, where they just follow the results, whoever is winning does the best. And whoever is last is not Formula 1 level.

"They don't understand much about car performance and the package that you need. So you are on more of a rollercoaster kind of feeling, of perception, of what the people feel about you."

Verstappen echoes Alonso's comparison

Like Alonso, Max Verstappen also recently likened F1 fans to followers of football, although the Dutchman's comparison was more linked to recent incidents of spectators booing unfavoured drivers in recent Grands Prix.

Verstappen was on the receiving end of boos at the British Grand Prix. One week later in Austria, it was Lewis Hamilton who was subject to similar treatment from some fans, with cheers heard as the Briton crashed out of Friday's qualifying session.

"I think it's a shame that the fans actually react like football fans," Verstappen told German publication F1-Insider.

"They always boo at the opponent. In Holland they boo Lewis, in England me.

"I think it's a pity because we often fight extremely tough, high-quality fights. You have to respect your opponent.

"I am a PSV fan. But when I watch a great football match, I enjoy it, whether my team wins or loses.

"It would be nice if fan behaviour in our sport was the same. And that, despite all the rivalry, opponents are also treated with respect."

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