Formula One has always been popular, but it does feel that, in recent times, the sport has reached new levels of popularity over the past decade. Some 500 million people watch F1 during the season, and that’s a figure that’s slowly been increasing over the years. With such a large following, it was inevitable that the franchise would become a presence in popular culture. After all, there’s clearly an audience for F1 content. Plus, the high-octane style of this branch of motorsport makes it an ideal subject matter for a wide array of entertainment. So what are the connections between Formula One and popular culture? Let’s take a look.
Movies and Documentaries
You can’t help but have seen Formula One on the big screen in the past decade. A whole host of documentaries, and even a movie, have come out to critical and popular acclaim. Indeed, one of the best documentaries of the 21st century was based on an F1 driver. Senna, released in 2010, told the story of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna and was so expertly made that even non-F1 fans enjoyed the ride. Blockbuster movie Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, came out in 2013 and told the story of the 1976 rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki. And with the recent achievements of Mexico’s ‘Checo’ Perez, we will surely see his story reach streaming platforms.
Formula One Gaming
Formula One isn’t just a presence in the gaming world. It had a significant influence that helped to push the gaming industry forward. Formula One Grand Prix, released in 1991, helped to bring home racing games into the mainstream, and the annual F1 game releases continue to be hugely popular. You’ll also see elements of F1 in non-affiliated games, such as it can be seen in online real slots games, which adds luxury touches to its narrative. Recently we also saw the arrival of the F1 Manager, which takes gamers out of the driver’s seat and into the behind-the-scenes running of a championship team.
Drive to Survive
Drive to Survive is another documentary, but its popularity and impact mean it’s deserving of its own paragraph. Unlike many other documentaries that require some understanding of — or interest in — the sport, Drive to Survive serves as something of an introduction to the sport. It captures the excitement and high technical capabilities of the vehicles and presents them in a way that’s accessible to all. There is, of course, an element of overdramatization at times, with some moments throughout the season given an extra dose of tension, but on the whole, it stays true to reality. This hit favorite Netflix show is a fine example of how Formula One can intrigue people beyond the action on a track in a way that other sports would struggle.
Formula One is high glamour, so it makes sense that another area of high glamour, music, would be a presence within the sport. Formula One drivers have been name-checked in songs and even sometimes produce their music. The real connection with music, however, comes on race day, when concerts are held before and after the races, in some of the venues, anyway. At the Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and the United States Grand Prix, you’ll find performances from some of the world’s biggest artists, including Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, and Eminem.
Moving Into the Future
And what of the future? Formula One doesn’t stay still too long, and in an attempt to bring younger fans on board, you can expect that there’ll be more crossover with popular culture, especially in the music realm, with more and more artists being added to race days to create significant popular culture moments.