F1 needs NASCAR approach to social media

There’s no doubt that while I’ve been in the Formula 1 paddock, I would have liked to share some pictures and video with our readers but that’s not allowed. The issue came up when social media maven Lewis Hamilton posted using Snapchat making fans wonder, “what’s the harm in Lewis sharing video or pics from the garage”?

When NASCAR driver Kurt Busch visited Baku during the race, he was also cautioned on the use of social media as the NASCAR series wanted him to post some great shots on their social media platform. Kurt said:

“I heard that Lewis was in trouble on Snapchat, because of the access he was giving fans,” the 2004 champion said.

“NASCAR heard I was coming to an F1 race and they wanted me to sign into their account and they want me to promote Formula 1 on the Snapchat NASCAR channel.

“So that’s the thing, that’s all controlled above us.

“In NASCAR, you want to show them but also show enough intrigue so that they will continue to view it at the track themselves.

“Of course you want to keep certain things private, but NASCAR wants as much new information so that the fans can see it.”

He’s right, there are a lot of sensitive things going on around a F1 garage and it could be that a driver may not intend to show some secret sauce but may not know that he’s doing it. There is the issue of video rights which are owned by Formula One Management (FOM) and that is an asset they are no keen to simply give away for free.

On the flip side of that argument, like NASCAR, there are those who feel that harmless sharing of the paddock activities draws more fans into the sport and cements those who are mildly interested. That could be true but I suspect that if there is sharing of pics and video from the paddock, it will be from those broadcasters who have paid for the rights to do so and perhaps F1 itself through their social media.

One has to imagine that sponsors would love to do live video and pictures from the paddock to amp up their hospitality and marketing outreach but something tells me that F1 will be the group who takes the lead on any digital media and streaming video to be shared from its race weekend.