F1 set to expand Fan Festival programme in 2019

Formula 1 is set to hold up to seven Fan Festivals in 2019 as part of Liberty Media’s ambition to expand the championship’s reach outside of Grands Prix.

Formula 1’s first official gathering outside of a Grand Prix weekend was held in London in 2017, and this year events have been held in Shanghai, Marseille and Milan.

A fourth and final 2018 gathering in Miami, at which Red Bull and Renault will be present, is to be held this weekend, alongside the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches has revealed that additional festivals are planned for 2019, with China, Japan and the US regarded as attractive markets.

“We’ve enjoyed great success with the Fan Festivals this year and we’re looking to create a broader programme next year,” said Bratches.

“At the present time we are looking at an expanded schedule of six to seven events.

“We’re targeting a second festival in Shanghai, as like the US, we see great potential for F1 in China. That will also dovetail with our 1000th race, which gives it even greater resonance. Together with the race, it should be an amazing experience.

“Beyond that we are looking to visit Tokyo and Milan, and we are aiming to put on events in Germany and the USA, though the locations there are yet to be confirmed. We are also exploring two other destination cities.

“We’re in the early phases of planning for 2019 but, as mentioned, even though we are still evolving the concept of the festivals, we’ve had great success with this first year’s programme and we’re looking forward to bigger and better in 2019.”

Bratches explained that Formula 1 is still optimising the format of the Fan Festivals, and that ensuring contemporary cars can undertake demonstration runs, is a chief target.

“I think the two-day event we had in Milan was a great success and so far that has proven to be the best balance in terms of audience engagement and the availability of Formula 1 personalities,” he said.

“It’s important to say that the key element for us is for people to see these incredible machines in action.

“They are a truly astounding marriage of art and engineering and seeing them fired up in anger on city streets is the thing that will truly engage them.

“However, realising that is not always easy. We work closely with the teams, who have a lot of competing demands on their time, as we want to ensure that wherever possible centrepiece of our Fan Festivals features cars being driven by elite race drivers.

“It’s why the festivals are mostly staged in cities close to a Grand Prix. We want to bring current F1 cars, current F1 stars to people.”