F1 has revealed that the Abu Dhabi title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was watched by an incredible 108.7 million people around the world. The figure was revealed as part of F1’s announcement of audience and fan attendance figures for last year’s record-breaking 22-race season. Despite the fact that there were only 17 grand prix that year, the cumulative TV audience for 2021 was 1.55 billion, up 4% from 2020.
Aside from the Abu Dhabi race, the season opener in Bahrain [84.5m] and the three sprint weekend events at Silverstone [79.5m], Monza [80.4m], and Sao Paulo [82.1m] all drew large crowds. The average grand prix audience was 70.3 million people. In addition, several markets saw significant increases in season cumulative audiences, with the Netherlands leading the way with an 81 percent increase year over year.
There were also significant gains in the United States (58%), France (48%), Italy (40%), and the United Kingdom (39%). In terms of follower growth on social media, Formula One was once again the fastest-growing major sport in the world in 2021. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitch, and Chinese social platforms all saw a 40% increase in followers to 49.1 million, with video views up 50% to seven billion and total engagement up 74% to 1.5 billion.
In addition, total video views on F1.com, the F1 app, and social media were up 44 percent to 7.04 billion in 2020, with unique users up 63 percent to 113 million and page views up 23 percent to 1.6 billion. Following the cancellation of events in 2020 due to the pandemic, F1 welcomed back 2.69 million fans in 2021, despite limited capacity at some venues and the inability of others to open their doors to fans. F1 is pleased with the figures, which are lower than the pre-Covid figures of 4.16 million, as it prepares to return to normal this year as the pandemic subsides.
Over the course of the race weekend, three grands prix drew over 300,000 spectators: the United States (400,000), Mexico (371,000), and the United Kingdom (356,000). Belgium [213,000], the Netherlands [195,000], Turkey [190,000], Brazil [181,000], Abu Dhabi [153,000], Saudi Arabia [143,000], Austria [132,000], and Hungary [130,000] were among the 11 events that drew crowds of over 100,000.