Formula 1: which brands are winning the Instagram race?

Ahead of the highly anticipated Formula 1 2022 season, HypeAuditor, an AI analytics platform reveals the drivers, teams and sponsors in pole position on Instagram.


HypeAuditor, an AI analytics social media platform used by Dior, Unilever and Ogilvy, releases a report detailing which drivers are the most popular on Instagram in terms of engagement and brand partnerships.

Following a controversial season in 2021 and the release of the latest season of Netflix’s popular behind-the-scenes documentary series, Drive to Survive, the top drivers have seen an increase in their social media following and also their brand partnerships.

In a sport known for its sponsorships decorating the cars, luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Beats by Dre, Theophilio, and SKIMS are taking advantage of the drivers’ social media popularity through sponsored partnerships.

However, even though Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) frequently tops the podium both on the track and on Instagram with over 27 million followers, his audience engagement doesn’t meet the match of his competitors Lando Norris (@landonorris) and Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo).

Who’s on the podium?

Despite taking a break from social media following the controversial loss of his record-breaking eighth championship title last year, Hamilton gained the most followers (+5 million followers) in a year, ahead of Max Verstappen (@maxverstappen1) who gained 3.9 million. McLaren driver Lando Norris comes third in terms of year-on-year followers growth with an increase of 2.3 million new followers.

However, Hamilton doesn’t even make the podium for audience engagement, coming in at fourth place, despite his impressive following. He is wildly overlapped by young Brit Lando Norris. Has the younger Norris got a generational advantage when it comes to engaging with his audience?

Brand partnerships

In terms of partnerships over the past 180 days, the drivers who partnered with brands on sponsored content most frequently include Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) with 22 brand partnerships. He is followed by Sergio Pérez (@schecoperez), Valtteri Bottas (@valtteribottas) and Lando Norris, who each secured 16 brand partnerships over the past six months.

Unsurprisingly, Lewis Hamilton has the highest pay per sponsored post, with an estimate of $225,000 even though he has far fewer brand partnerships at only 11. The seventh time champion has posted sponsored content from Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, MasterClass, The Wall Street Journal, Monster Energy, and fashion brands Balenciaga, Theophilio, and SKIMS.

Norris is the second highest paid driver per post with an estimate of $143,000. This results from his high engagement with his audience with a rate of 12.05%. Hamilton has one of the lowest engagement rates, in comparison to all other drivers, with an estimate of 2.95%.

The teams

When looking at each racing team, Mercedes (@mercedesamgf1) is, to date, the team with the most followers on Instagram with 9 million, followed by McLaren (@mclarenauto) (8.9 million) and Ferrari (@scuderiaferrari) (8.9 million). However, the teams with the highest year-on-year percentage growth in subscribers were Aston Martin Racing (@astonmartinf1) (+64.9%), Oracle Red Bull Racing (+53.5%) and Alpha Tauri (@alphataurif1) (+51.1%).

In terms of engagement, Haas leads the way with a rate of 4.06% however, this may be linked to the recent dismissal of his driver, Nikita Mazepin and the comeback of Kevin Magnussen as part of the team. Alfa Romeo (@alfaromeoracingorlen) and Ferrari close the podium with engagement rates of 3.66% and 1.63%, respectively.

As Lando Norris becomes increasingly popular and the 2022 season nears, brands’ eyes will be on the podiums both on the track and on social media when deciding who will hold their next partnerships.

Want to hear more about how to successfully leverage different social media platforms for your paid social strategy? Join us online and in London at PMW’s Paid Social Media Seminar (Tuesday 26th April, 9:00-17:25 GMT). You can secure your pass here

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