Measuring the buzz around the new F1 Season
March 16, 2012 Author: James Christie
Which drivers and teams are generating the most online buzz on the eve of the season?
The Formula One season is nearly upon us again; a time when the buzz and drone of the cars on the starting grid reaches a deafening crescendo.
And the ‘buzz’ about the contenders for this year’s Drivers and Constructors Championship is also increasing in volume on online forums, blog sites and social networks. In the modern era, these are the places where much of the traffic of conversations about the sport flows.
We used Brandwatch’s social media monitoring tools to examine the volume of conversation surrounding the men who will climb into the cockpits of the world’s fastest cars this Sunday in Melbourne.
This system takes just minutes to collect a week’s worth of online mentions of key words and phrases. Tapping in the names of the teams and drivers revealed that Mercedes attracted the most number of mentions during the week (577).
The fact that Mercedes has become a major talking point is probably due to the pace shown by the cars through out testing and during this week’s practice sessions. With Michael Schumacher clocking the third-fastest time on Friday morning, and fastest in the afternoon practice, it seems that Mercedes now have a car with genuine pace.
Ferrari gathered the week’s second-largest number of mentions (486) with McLaren close behind with 469 mentions.
Red Bull, despite winning the 2011 Constructors Championship, only attracted 219 mentions.
The buzz around the drivers saw McLaren take the pole positions. Jenson Button, as well as being the fastest-driver in Friday morning’s practice session, was this week’s most-mentioned driver (580 mentions). Hamilton came in second with 483 mentions, while veteran driver Michael Schumacher gathered 235 mentions. Interestingly the “buzz” podium finishers were also the three fastest drivers in morning practice.
Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver who is the reigning F1 champion, was this week’s fifth-most talked-about driver, with 180 mentions across all social media platforms. That’s a surprisingly low ranking for the young German, who is going into this season with back-to-back championships under his belt. This season Vettel aims to become only the third driver in Formula 1 history to win three championships in a row.
The fact that British drivers occupied the top two places in the mentions league owes much to the fact that the Brandwatch search we conducted concentrated on English-language mentions. A German or Spanish-language search could well have produced a different result.
Now the phoney war of practice sessions is drawing to an end, it is time to see if the hype surrounding certain drivers will be justified by their finishing positions.
Roll on Sunday!
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