REUTERS--With Mercedes continuing to dominate Formula 1, there a danger the season could be over by the time it reaches Singapore in September. How can marketers keep high levels of engagement when faced with a series that can sometimes be a foregone conclusion toward the end of the season?
Eight races into the 2019 Formula One season and the competition was sliding into yet another extended Mercedes victory parade. The team bearing the German marque had topped every single podium from Melbourne to Marseille – from the season-starting Australian Grand Prix to the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Through a mixture of superb driving, superior tactics and good fortune, as well as a jury decision that denied Sebastian Vettel a Ferrari victory in Montreal, Mercedes have jumped to a sizeable lead in the constructors’ championship while Lewis Hamilton looks destined for a fourth straight – and an overall sixth – drivers’ crown. Throw in the wins from the final two races of the previous season and it was already 10 races since a team other than Mercedes won a race.
Given Mercedes’ dominance, the season could conceivably be over before it reaches Singapore – the 15th of a 21-stop season – in September. But the result in Austria, where a pair of 21-year-olds took over the limelight and fought out a thrilling final few laps, gave the competition the shot in the arm it much needed.
An infringement during Qualifying saw Hamilton ceding pole to Charles Leclerc and handing the young Monegasque the opportunity to exorcise the demons of a squandered race victory in Bahrain three months earlier.
But it was a fired-up Max Verstappen, driving on Red Bull’s home circuit, that took the chequered flag, albeit via an aggressive passing move on Leclerc two laps from the end which needed three hours of deliberations before the stewards upheld the win.
The result would have brought a sigh of relief for the organisers and promoters of most of the upcoming races as they hope a tighter competition would draw more fans to their races. But in many ways, this is not as great a concern for the Singapore Grand Prix as it heads into its 12th edition this year.
For Michael Roche, executive director of Singapore Grand Prix Pte Ltd, the challenge for Singapore has always been about creating an experience for everyone beyond just the racing.