The cumulative TV audience for 2021 topped 1.5 billion in total worldwide, marking a 4% rise compared to the 2020 season, while figures for the Abu Dhabi finale were 29% higher than the same race the previous year. 

In total, 108m people watched Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 drivers’ crown following a hugely controversial finish to the Yas Marina race. 

F1 enjoyed an average TV audience of 70.3m per grand prix in 2021, while it reported strong figures across the three sprint weekends at Silverstone (79.5m), Monza (80.4m) and Sao Paulo (82.1m). 

Gains were also recorded on F1’s social and digital platforms, with F1 claiming it became the “fastest growing major sports league on the planet in terms of follower growth” in 2021. 

After the 2020 season was largely held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, F1 welcomed back 2.69m fans to its events in 2021, despite some races still featuring limited capacities. 

The United States, Mexico City and British grands prix each drew more than 300,000 spectators over the race weekend, with all three welcoming more fans than in 2019. 

While race attendances were down overall on the pre-COVID figures of 4.16m, F1 says it expects the demand to return to normal levels “once the pandemic subsides”. 

“The 2021 season was something very special,” said F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “We had a championship battle that went to the last race with huge excitement throughout the whole championship. 

“We began to welcome back our fans who are the heart and soul of our sport and although we were limited in our capacities due to COVID, it was fantastic to see 2.6 million fans in the grandstands around the world. 

“We have also seen some very strong figures across broadcast and our digital platforms, showing once again the momentum, excitement and interest that is all around Formula 1. 

“We are looking forward to our record breaking 23 race season this year, with new cars, new regulations, and a new challenge for all the teams and drivers. I know all of our fans can’t wait to get the season started.”