Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo expects off-track entertainment to expand further in coming years, but hopes the racing isn’t neglected in the process.

    Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive, first released in 2019, has been credited with a spike in the popularity of Formula 1 which has translated into higher attendance numbers.

    That was demonstrated last year when a new record was set for crowd attendance at an Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne; 444,631 people packed into Albert Park.

    In that time Formula 1 has also focused on offering entertainment off the track. Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams and Martin Garrix headlined the post-race concert in Saudi Arabia this year, while Kings of Leon will perform at the 2024 British Grand Prix.

    Speaking to CarExpert at Honda head office in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Mr Ricciardo shared his hope that Formula 1 remains a motorsport category first, and entertainment organisation second.

    “The race should still be the main event, and I think the race should still be more of a race than a show,” said Mr Ricciardo.

    “The show can go on around it but the race should still be competition at its purest. That’s all I hope for.”

    Despite his note of caution, Mr Ricciardo is still a fan of Formula 1 events as a whole in their current form.

    “It’s definitely taken off a lot in the last few years. The fan base and the sport has grown, so many more people know what F1 is now,” he added.

    “They’re definitely making a weekend a bit more of an event. I think Melbourne has always done a great job of it, not just having the race but having so much more that goes on around Albert Park and all that.

    “I think a lot of other races now are doing that, building in music and things into the events so I can see that going another step.”

    For the first time ever, the first three days of the Australian Grand Prix are sold out in 2024.

    Electronic music duo Empire of the Sun and rock band Jet will take to the stage over the course of the event, as well as Amy Shark and The Presets.

    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.

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