Record TV audiences for F1 finale make NASCAR look miniscule [Editor's Note: Take note of the audience for the F1 finale - even small countries like Italy drew numbers 4 times of that for NASCAR and NASCAR races in the USA, which has a huge TV base. Worldwide just the F1 finale alone drew more viewers than NASCAR did all season. Make no mistake, open wheel racing is still king of the racing world.]
Formula One Administration (FOA) has confirmed record television figures for Sunday’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, into which headed four drivers with a chance of clinching the World Championship title.
Never before have a quartet of F1 competitors remained in contention for the title at the last race of the season although – with a Spaniard, German, Australian and Englishman all in with a shot – TV viewing figures confirmed worldwide excitement levels.
An average of nine million people tuned into the race from Spain, with principal broadcaster La Sexta enjoying figures of 7.4 million as TV Cataluña contributed to a further million, with a further 400,000 watching on regional channels such as in Fernando Alonso’s home province of Asturias or TV Valencia.
Since hitting the 10 million mark prior to Michael Schumacher’s retirement, Germany’s RTL has seen three full seasons pass by before hitting the figure again; however, such a number has been achieved twice this year alone, with the races in question being the season-opener in Bahrain and season-closer in Abu Dhabi.
Rai in Italy recorded 10.6 million views for its live coverage of the Yas Marina event, with that figure easily doubling that of the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as a market share of 50 percent marked the most watched F1 race since 2007.
In the United Kingdom, Lewis Hamilton’s chances may have been slim although the BBC still notched up a market share of 40 percent courtesy of its 5.3 million views, although it must be noted that some 6.6 million switched on for Jenson Button’s crowning race in Brazil last year.
TF1 of France – a country which houses no Grand Prix driver at present - attracted 4.4 million views with a peak of 5.6 million, with that total being second only to the first race of the year at Sakhir.