FOM ordered Grosjean to remove Facebook videos

© XPB 

Formula One's commercial rights holder FOM ordered Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean to remove videos of the team's filming day from his Facebook page, the driver revealed this week.

In an exclusive interview with, Grosjean confirmed that the videos - which had already received over a million hits - had been taken down at the express request of FOM.

"I ran a live video on my Facebook page during our filming day, as well as from my room yesterday," said Grosjean. "FOM asked me to remove all the videos. We had more than a million views on all the videos."

Grosjean said that he had been trying to boost the popularity of the sport and fan engagement, and that he was disappointed with FOM's general approach to using online media.

"Formula One is too narrow-minded," he said. "We say that we lose fans, but nowadays, social networks have so many billion people in the world - and we're not allowed to make the most of them."

FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone has been noticeably reluctant to embrace online marketing possibilities for Formula One, implying that social media doesn't bring in the right sort of fans sought by the sport's prestige advertisers.

"I’m not interested in tweeting, Facebook or whatever this nonsense is. I tried to find out but in any case I’m too old fashioned. I couldn’t see any value in it," Ecclestone memorably told reporters at the end of the 2014 season.

"I don’t know why people want to get to the so-called ‘young generation’. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven’t got any money.

"You’re telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula One because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit.

"Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway.

"I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash. So, there’s no point trying to reach these kids because they won’t buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney."

However, Formula One has been steadily improving its online offerings in recent years with a revamped official website and mobile live timing apps proving big successes, and even the 85-year-old conceded that the sport should be doing more in this area.

"We should use social media to promote Formula One, I just don’t know how," he admitted.

Despite Ecclestone's antipathy, the sport has also established an official presence on YouTube. However, the policy on the usage of video footage remains extremely strict, with any self-made clips posted online by fans attending a Grand Prix swiftly ordered to be removed as a breach of copyright.

Posting Formula One video clips online is a particularly thorny issue because it can conflict with the legal rights laid out in exclusive contracts with various television broadcasters in different nations around the world.

However, other championships are finding ways to successfully bring their sport online. In the US, the IndyCar Series posts extended highlights of all its races for fans to view for free several days after the event, while practice sessions are streamed live for free on its website.

Earlier this month, the FIA Formula E Series said that it would stream the upcoming Mexico City ePrix free for UK audiences, after the country’s broadcasters ITV confirmed that it wouldn't be able to air the race live because of a scheduling clash with the World Grand Prix Snooker semi-finals.

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