Pierre Gasly, Canal + and Netflix… Why the French are repenting for Formula 1

The victory of Pierre Gasly, in Italy in September 2020, a first since 1996 for a French driver, reinforces the attraction of the French for F1. – Jennifer Lorenzini / AP / SIPA
  • Two Formula 1 grand prix of this 2021 season have already broken audience records on Canal +, the official broadcaster.
  • The Canal + teams have noticed a renewed attractiveness of F1 in France for about three years, after ten gloomy years.
  • The return of F1 to France, like this weekend at Le Castellet, the Netflix series Drive to Survive, the expertise provided by Canal + and the good performance of Pierre Gasly contribute to this renewed attractiveness.

“Turn up the volume and go to the first corner”. They were 1.9 million viewers to hear Julien Febreau, the commentator of Formula 1 on Canal +, launch the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix, on March 28 with this phrase that has become legendary. “It’s a historic record for a grand prize. The last one in Azerbaijan gathered 1.4 million viewers, a new historical record for encrypted broadcasting ”, rejoices the star commentator, before returning to the French Grand Prix, at Le Castellet, this Sunday.

A renewed interest in Formula 1 that the Canal + teams, official broadcaster since 2013, have been seeing for three years now. Audiences have even increased by 27% between the 2019 season and that of 2020, and each grand prix attracts at least one million spectators, when some Ligue 1 matches are far from it. An argument that Maxime Saada did not fail to repeat to the various presidents of L1 when the latter begged him to inflate the bill a little, before the new clash that we know.

Canal +, among the best in the world

“We are a passionate team and it shows. We show incredible things from the stands, our blanket has been heavy since 2013 and we keep adding more, especially in terms of immersion. We have access to a phenomenal universe and we take viewers with us, we show everything and we explain as much as possible to give them the keys to understanding “, details Julien Febreau, including the flights at the start, at the finish or at each moment. warm, participate in the decor.

Pierre Guyonnet is the communications director for the Grand Prix de France du Castellet. He too can see this renewed enthusiasm for Formula 1 in France, after gloomy years. “With the disappearance of the French Grand Prix for 10 years, we lost all of Generation Z. The passage on Canal + was very positive, it is an extraordinary medium, which has one of the most beautiful ways of treating Formula 1, to editorialize and follow it. Honestly, they are among the best in the world, ”he says.

Netflix and sporting issue

Netflix, and the series Drive to Survive, whose third season has been available since the start of the year, also allowed to interest the youngest. “We got to know the series through friends. My companion started watching and I was stunned from halfway through the first episode. We watched the three seasons in one weekend, ”says Geraldine Mosna Savoye, columnist for the Carnet de Philo on France Culture.

Their great strength is to have known how to move the issue. “What I liked is that we don’t talk about cars, it’s paradoxical, but a good point. We do not enter a hermetic, very technical world. It’s more of a human comedy, with issues of power and rivalry, ”explains the one who even wrote a column on the paradoxical relationship between two pilots from the same team.

Since viewing the series, the young woman has not missed any grand prizes. “I was not at all interested in F1, now I am fascinated by the Grand Prix. Because I know who’s in the car, I know the stakes. It’s about soft, hard gum, it’s so funny. It changes everything now whether Verstappen finishes first or third, because I don’t like him, so I don’t want him to win, ”she laughs.

And precisely, after years of domination by Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen wins. He has even been at the head of this ultra-tight championship since the start of the season, at the same time relaunching the sporting issue around F1. “The fight between Hamilton and Verstappen serves the story we tell on Canal +, and this story is written live,” adds Julien Febreau.

The Pierre Gasly effect

The story of Pierre Gasly was written on September 6 and his victory in Italy, a first for a Frenchman since 1996 and Olivier Panis. “There is of course the sporting aspect which counts a lot, this victory of Pierre Gasly made resonate and put forward Formula 1. The presence of Esteban Ocon at Alpine Racing, a French team, also contributes to it”, estimates Pierre Guyonnet. They will also be 15,000 spectators this weekend to come and encourage the two French Formula 1 drivers in the Var.

“We had sold all the seats in December, despite the uncertainty. And the date change, from June 26 to June 20, resulted in about 20% cancellation. Everything started again very quickly when we re-marketed them, Saturday and Sunday are full, there are only a few places left for Friday ”, rejoices the communications director of the Castellet circuit.

The story has also continued on Twitch for a few weeks for the Canal + commentator. “We can also see this enthusiasm on social networks, with a real expectation of the next Grand Prix the following weekend. It offers a certain proximity, an extension of what we offer our subscribers by continuing the weekend experience. We can also afford more lightness, with other codes and I like that. We discuss the news of F1 with streamers, specialists, athletes from other disciplines passionate about F1 who bring an outside perspective, ”says Julien Febreau. Pierre Gasly is a regular, and he has no tongue in his pocket. Maybe it’s on Twitch that we’ll learn his transfer to Mercedes, You never know.

Source: 20Minutes – Une by www.20minutes.fr.

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