1) Current F1 cars don't look powerful to the average viewer, they look fragile and ugly.
2) TV viewing is restricted for the casual watcher with pay TV. In the UK, I can either pay something like 40 pounds a month for sky f1 or watch intermittant live coverage/highlights free on the BBC. Neither of those are really good strategies for engaging with fans.
3) Driver's aren't accessible and things like the paddock club are very elitist. Again not exactly a way to engage with potential fans.
4) Tickets are expensive
5) No social media presence
The list goes on...
I don't really care for the look of a racing car. They're designed around speed, not aesthetics. It is my opinion that the aesthetics of race cars don't matter to anyone who watches motorsport. If the cars were made more beautiful thousands more wouldn't suddenly decide to follow Formula 1 and to suggest that they would is ludicrous. Not to mention IndyCars look far more ugly to me, out of proportion and bulging in all the wrong places.
I agree with you on the viewing thing, it sucks but it happens. Football used to be free too, its success has not been hampered by being relocated behind a paywall. F1 just happened to move to that system at the wrong time, people are cutting back due to the economy, they're less likely to be comfortable spending a lot of money to follow something they were getting free just a couple of years ago.
I don't know what kind of fan interaction IndyCar has, because I don't watch it. I don't watch it because it isn't broadcast here, it's as simple as that. I'm a fan of motorsport, so if I can watch it then I will. I don't need the drivers to pretend to care that I'm watching, I don't need the drivers to be my friend - I just want to see them drive. You have to remember, back in the days when people got to see more of the paddock in person, that was the only way they'd get to see that. Now we have the internet, social media, better and more in depth TV coverage, everyone has a camera on their phone and the ability to make whatever image they take immediately available to almost anyone in the world. The simple concept of allowing 120,000 people meet the drivers and fill up the pitlane is completely unreasonable in the modern era. The health and safety control required alone would make it unfeasable in any reasonable time scale. I know at Silverstone at least there is a pitlane 'walk' early on the Thursday morning, I don't know what it entails because I have never been. I have never been because I don't care.
Ticket prices are too much, this is true.
If I'm not mistaken, all of the F1 teams use social media to interact with their own fans. Most, if not all, of the drivers also use it independently (although most is probably managed for them).
None of these 'innovations' are particularly 'American' though. American motorsport is a different breed entirely, and you'll find that many European motorsport fans are not interested in the likes of Nascar and vice versa. There are elements of the sports that could benefit from each other, but they are fundamentally different. In my opinion, as someone else pointed out, the American 'build up' is cringe worthy and hugely over the top. I'm not an idiot, I know deep down it's a sporting event, and while I might want to pretend to myself that it's the greatest most exciting thing in the universe for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, if anyone else tries to build it up as that, I can only assume that they think I'm a moron - because I'd have to be to actually believe them.
Whether it's sophistication or simply taste, I don't care to speculate. But no, I don't think F1 should be 'more American'. I think F1 has problems, serious problems, but none of them are down to the sport not being American enough. To suggest that any of the issues of F1 could be solved by copying a less popular racing series with similar issues with diminishing viewing figures and attendance makes no logical sense to me.
Edited by Sennasational, 13 August 2014 - 14:17.