Ferrari fan gesture proves F1's new freedom - Carey


Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey hailed Ferrari's initiative of inviting a distraught young Kimi Raikkonen fan to meet his favorite driver during Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

When six-year-old Thomas Danel was caught on camera crying after Raikkonen's demise on the first lap of the race, Ferrari dispatched a representative to find the young boy and his parents in the grandstands and invite them to the paddock for an unexpected 'meet and greet' with the 2007 world champion.

The touching scene was picked up by broadcasters and social media globally, providing Formula 1 with what Carey described as a 'special moment' which would have probably never happened during the Ecclestone era.

"We got all this press about the little boy who got pulled down, and they (Ferrari) did it on their own, having a sense a freedom that they wouldn’t have had a year ago," said Carey.

"I didn’t tell them to find the little boy, there are people who did it on their own, thought it would be a special moment, and it was."

Liberty Media introduced several new fan initiatives at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. A fan-zone was premiered, featuring various attractions such as pitstop challenges , a zip-line and the chance for fans to win a ride in a Minardi two-seater.

"At Barcelona we launched no transforming events, but a number of things that almost everybody to a man said created a fresh sense of energy and excitement," said Carey.

"As we’ve been connecting the various parties, we’re finding a tremendous level of enthusiasm that hadn’t existed, and to some degree you could say there was almost frustration for people who felt there wasn’t anybody to engage with."

Carey insisted it was early days still in terms of fan engagement as F1 seeks to create an entertainment  platform from which it will also eventually derive revenue.

"We could probably sell that sponsorship five times over for the zip line and go into profit," he said.

"We didn’t, but I can imagine the right sponsor wanting to identity with it."

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