Vettel turns off TV audiencesComment on this story
London, England - Formula One superstar Sebastian Vettel's coasting to a fourth consecutive world drivers title in 2013 had an adverse effect on global TV audiences.
The 26-year-old Red Bull driver won 13 of the 19 races in easing to the title.
However, television viewers weren’t impressed. According to the annual Global Media Report, published by Formula One Management, which holds the commercial rights to Formula One and produces the images used by broadcasters, the total slumped from 500 million in 2012 - when Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battled it out to the final race - to 450 million.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone put the reason for the fall partly down to last season having one race less than the previous year, but he conceded that Vettel's dominance, especially in the second part of the season when he won nine consecutive races, as also turning people off.
Ecclestone wrote: “The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the United States and Brazil, races that usually attract substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach.”
The most significant drop in viewing figures came in China, where the race was switched from state TV to regional stations and as a result lost 30million viewers from the year before.
France too saw numbers melt away as for the first year the race was broadcast only on pay TV channel Canal Plus, which paid a king's ransom to outbid TF1, the long-time home of Formula One TV viewers in France.
Figures there saw a loss of 17million viewers from 27 million in 2012 to 10 million.
By contrast three countries showed significant rises in viewers, those being the United States, Great Britain and Italy.