F1 CTO reveals new technology to monitor fan behaviour

Formula 1 is constantly looking for feedback from fans, as the sport continues to change with the implementation of new regulations and initiatives.

Formula 1 is changing for the better year after year, with the cost cap in 2021 quickly being followed by the major change in regulations that came the year after, with both changes designed to make the sport more competitive and entertaining for fans.

The sport is watched by millions of people all around the world, meaning that it can be hard to judge how fans are feeling about the direction that the sport is heading in without enlisting the help of some technology.

F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds has now revealed that they have done exactly that, using a new and advanced software program to gather accurate feedback and gauge the reaction from fans to their changes.

“We evaluate the mood on social media channels. Here’s how it works; our software evaluates fans’ comments and derives a sentiment from them. It works really excellently when you want to find out if people are excited, bored or angry,” explained the F1 chief.

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“Previously, we approached the task from the other side. We picked a duel and analysed the comments on it. Now we read a mood from the comments and then look at which scene in the race they match.

“I’ll give you an example: We registered a kind of angry mood before the start of the Austrian GP and wondered what in heaven might have happened there. After all, the race hadn’t even started yet. Upon analysis, we found that people were upset about flares!”

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The new technology comes into the sport at a perfect time, as major changes are coming into effect on a regular basis as F1 bosses look to improve the sport.

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One part of the 2023 season that will be of interest to Symonds will be the fans’ reactions to the sprint race format, with the number of race weekends including this extra race will be increased to six next season.

The format has been criticised by the likes of reigning champion Max Verstappen in recent months, but F1’s main goal is to entertain and please fans so Symonds will be interested to see if fans agree with the drivers by reacting negatively to the races in 2023.