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1 in 4 new car buyers watch the Formula 1

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January to December 2016, sample = 50,144 Australians aged 14+

Almost one in four Australians who intend to buy a new car this year watch Formula 1 on television, Roy Morgan Research shows—and their need for speed plays a big part in what make of car they plan to purchase (or are still considering). 

In the 12 months to December 2016, 2.65 million Australians aged 14+ reported ‘almost always’ or ‘occasionally’ watching Formula 1 car racing on TV (13 percent)—but among  Australians who intend to buy a new car this year, 24 percent could be tuning in to the Melbourne Grand Prix starting tomorrow.

New research from Roy Morgan estimates 618,000 Australians intend to buy a new car this year. This includes almost 150,000 Formula 1 viewers, or over five percent of the entire F1 TV audience—not a bad hit-rate for car advertisers.

Formula 1 viewers have distinctive opinions when it comes to cars, which the research shows affect their car-buying preferences.  Nearly half of Formula 1 viewers regard themselves as “a bit of a car enthusiast” (48 percent) and 37 percent “would like a car that handles like a racing car”. The levels of agreement with these automotive attitudes are more than twice as high among F1 viewers than the average Australian.  

Other distinctive attitudes among F1 viewers are that they’re more “interested in buying a high performance car” (30 percent agree), prefer “a car that has lots of sex appeal” (15 percent), and “will only buy a car that is fun to own” (28 percent).

The distinctive automotive attitudes of Formula 1 TV viewers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January to December 2016, sample = 50,144 Australians aged 14+

With their idiosyncratic automotive attitudes, car buyers who watch Formula 1 also have some quite different preferences to other buyers when it comes to which makes they are either considering or already intend to buy.

Formula 1 viewers are around twice as likely as the average new car buyer to have Audi (106 percent more likely) or Holden Special Vehicle (+97 percent) on their shortlist of makes. They also much more inclined to be considering a Jeep (68 percent more likely than average), Mercedes-Benz (+49 percent) or BMW (+47 percent).

Skoda, MItsuibishi, Lexus, Volkswagen and Land Rover also score strongly among F1 viewers (indexing between 13 and 38 percent above the norm).

And despite the fuel inefficiency of racing around in circles, Formula 1 TV viewers are also 22 percent more likely than the average buyer to put electric car-maker Tesla on the list.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January to December 2016, sample = 5,449 Australians aged 14+ who intend to buy a new car in the next four years.

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Not only do a much greater share of Formula 1 viewers already intend to buy a new car soon, but they anticipate spending around $6,000 more on average than other buyers in the market. All up, the Formula 1 can be expected to reach $6 billion worth of new car purchase intention in 2017.

“Just as they are in the general car-buying population, Toyota and Mazda are the number one and two makes on the lists of F1 viewers. However Audi is by far the biggest mover, jumping ten spots from the 13th most often considered make among all buyers to third among the F1 audience.

“There is a clear correlation between Formula 1 and Audi. Buyers who are thinking about getting an Audi are—just like Formula 1 viewers—much more inclined to emphasise things like sex appeal, fun, high performance and racing-car handling.

“Despite plenty of speculation over the last few years, it seems Audi has no plans to get on the F1 grid itself. Clearly, its brand position is already well-matched to F1 fans, even without joining the race.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%