Passion, media, audiences: Why Ferrari’s return is so important for Italy

A year and a half ago, more precisely in September 2020, Luigi Zironi agreed to answer our questions before the 1000th Scuderia Ferrari F1 Grand Prix. The mayor of Maranello, stronghold of the Italian team, revealed this amusing anecdote to us. « With each victory, the bells of Maranello ring. Moreover, in the campanile, there is a « Ferrari » button that the priest activates when the Scuderia wins a race« , he confided. If this little story can make you smile, it nevertheless represents rather well the importance of the Rosses in the country. And not only in Maranello. In a country torn by passions around Calcio, Ferrari can boast of gathering around sixty million tifosi each race Sunday.No small feat, especially given the performance of recent years.

In Italy, the Scuderia is considered cultural and national heritage. Both for the brand and the team, historic first in the world championship for drivers (15 titles), constructors (16), races contested (1031) and victories (239). It belongs to all Italians, and you don’t need to drive a car with a prancing horse to own it. « This passion is our strength, explained John Elkannteam president and descendant of the Agnelli family, during the presentation of the F1-75, whose name pays tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Italian manufacturer. Ferrari is the only team that has participated in all editions of the F1 World Championship since 1950“The most important thing is that she is mostly back, evidenced by her double last Sunday in Bahrain. Something to give hope to an entire country, somewhat tired of remaining a spectator of the duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

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When Ferrari wins, sales increase

The day after this triumph, all the transalpine press, sports and general, decided to put this return to grace in front page. Either full-page or with a box. But it was almost impossible to find a daily newspaper without a trace of red in the famous « edicole ». It must be said that F1 generally occupies a very important place in the transalpine media. In the columns of The Gazzetta dello Sport, the best-selling sports newspaper in Italy, there are daily (at least) two pages dedicated to the world of the premier category. Even in the offseason.

« It is obvious that this return is very important for Italy, but not that, since the team is one of the most popular in the world.explains Lorenzo Pastuglia, contributor to La Gazzetta dello Sport. For Italian newspapers, the success of the Scuderia is crucial, since it is a national entity here. When she wins, sales go up. The best go back to the days of Schumacher and the five titles. A victory for Ferrari is equivalent to a victory for Juve, Inter or even Milan for the purchase of the newspaper. It is in human nature to want to win, to triumph. The Italian is a very proud person. So, when he sees « his » team winning worldwide, he is happy. Especially in a predominantly English paddock. It’s wonderful to see your country dominate. It should also be noted that F1 is also happy to see Ferrari upgraded, it is important for the show but also for the cash inflows. The World Cup this season will be even more followed here with this three-way battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes. In 2017, an F1 poll indicated that Ferrari was the most followed and loved team. It’s a historic car, even Hamilton has prancing horse cars. »

More than two million viewers… for a replay

On the television side, we also rub our hands at the return to the outposts of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Even more after the poor elimination of the Italian football team against North Macedonia in the semi-finals of the World Cup play-offs. Sunday, they were more than two million (2,241,000) in front of their screen to see the victory of the Monegasque in clear on the TV8 channel. Or rather review, since the race was broadcast at 9:30 p.m. To see it live, you had to subscribe to Sky Italia, which has recovered the TV rights to Rai (public channel) for a few years now. This season, five races will be broadcast live and unencrypted (Emilia-Romagna, Spain, France, Monza, United States).

Leclerc: « Signing a double with the team is absolutely incredible »

When the Scuderia last won, in Singapore in 2019, Sky Italia had gathered 2.4 million viewers. For that of Charles Leclerc at Monza the same year, even better: 9.2 million unique viewers with an average of 5.9 million! A historic record for the group, a subsidiary of the American Comcast. Suffice to say that when a red car crosses the finish line in the lead, the broadcasters are also at the party. “We hope that this first victory for Leclerc is not episodic, the return to the forefront of Ferrari is very important for us”, slips us a journalist from the F1 team of the chain.

For comparison, the historic epilogue of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi had gathered 6.8 million unique viewers, an increase of 86% over the same race in 2020. The epic duel between Verstappen and Hamilton therefore benefited Sky Italia, aware of the challenge represented by the broadcasting of F1. The device around a Grand Prix is ​​always colossal. One channel is even entirely dedicated to F1. Entitled « Sky Sport F1 », it broadcasts everything live, from the Thursday driver press conference to the Sunday race debrief. And the week? Reruns of the ultimate race to older ones, reports, interviews or even retrospectives.

Rossi… and Ferrari

If F1 is the most followed motor sport in Italy, MotoGP, which also has its own channel, has nothing to be ashamed of. But with one noticeable difference. If all of Italy supports Ferrari, it has sometimes been divided on the two-wheel side. There were the pro-Rossi, the vast majority of Italians. But also the pro-Ducati, or even the pro-Capirossi and the pro-Biaggi, much less numerous. On four wheels, the tifosi have often taken a liking to the transalpine pilots, not really victorious like on a motorcycle. But the priority always remains the Scuderia, where the team counts much more than those who are behind the wheel.

« Rossi was also a national entity, even more than Ducati and the othersrecognizes Pastuglia. We all remember his battles over the years. There has always been a lot of rivalry between Italian riders in MotoGP. Valentino has always destroyed his adversaries: Stoner, Gibernau… He is a pilot who has conquered all of Italy. In F1, Leclerc is however a driver very appreciated by the tifosi. He grew up in the « Ferrari Driver Academy », it would be a great pride for the Italians to see a « home » and talented driver win the title of world champion against drivers like Verstappen and Hamilton. When you think that the title « drivers » has been missing since 2007 and that « manufacturers » since 2008… » In Italy, the dream of glory is no longer forbidden this season. And this is already great news.

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