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F1 relaxes social media rules for teams

Formula One’s new owners signalled a break from the Bernie Ecclestone era yesterday by giving teams and drivers greater freedom to engage with fans on social media from inside the circuit confines.

Ecclestone, ousted as the sport’s commercial supremo in January after Liberty Media completed their takeover, was famously sceptical about social media and highly controlling of all video content from the paddock.

Much of Formula One’s revenues comes from television deals with broadcasters.

Liberty Media have made fan engagement a priority, however, and are determined to build the brand through social media and digital channels.

Teams were told in guidelines issued ahead of the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona yesterday that they could now “shoot short-form video for use on the team’s own social channels” from inside the paddock.

It added that a formal set of content guidelines would be issued in due course.

The new policy was evident, with Mercedes’ triple world champion Lewis Hamilton – who has 3.8 million followers on Instagram and 4.16 million on Twitter – promising more access.

The coverage consisted of footage shot in the pit lane and garage, but not on the track, and lasting no more than 10 seconds.

“The new owners seem very keen to embrace ideas to make the sport more accessible and entertaining,” said Red Bull chief Chris Horner. “In the immediacy, what we can see is that Formula One will perhaps be made slightly more accessible.”

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