F1 Rookie has ‘massive surge’ in social media followers after first season

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant F1 drivers on their phones

With another F1 season under wraps, we already know the championship positions, points and results. But what has this season done for each of the 20 drivers’ social media followings?

Here’s a detailed look who’s got the most followers and who’s gained the most followers in 2023.

The 2023 F1 rookies

The 2023 Formula 1 World Championship saw two rookie drivers enter the series. The Aussie Oscar Piastri stepped up to the top level of motorsport with a McLaren drive, after very publicly shunning his supposed Alpine seat.

Logan Sargeant was the second newcomer to the series driving for Williams, and he was the first American driver to complete a full season of F1 since Scott Speed in 2006, 17 years prior.

 With the sport’s increasing popularity in the United Stated and three Grand Prix there (Miami, COTA and Las Vegas) in 2023, it was hoped having an American on the grid would give the US based F1 fans even more to cheer about. Shame then Logan finished last in the championship, but someone’s got to.

Both drivers had worked their way up through the F1 feeder series so were well known in the motorsport circle but less well known to the more casual F1 fanbase. As it turns out, joining the F1 grid has done wonders for their social media presence.

The established contenders

The rest of the drivers on the 2023 Formula One grid had at least done one season. Some of them, like Lewis Hamilton, were already influencer powerhouses with tens of millions of followers before the 2023 series kicked off.

Others had seen their following gradually creep up as every race went by, and every new series of Drive to Survive aired.

So just how many more millions of followers could Lewis get in a year? And could any of the other drivers possibly match him? Let’s take a look at the figures.

F1 drivers' Instagram followers

Below are the number of Instagram followers each Formula 1 driver had in December 2022 compared to now, December 2023. Next to those is the amount their following has increased over the year, both as an absolute figure and as a percentage.

The list is ordered by December 2023 follower count. Data from Social Blade.

Driver 2022 Followers 2023 Followers Increase % Increase
Lewis Hamilton 30,880,937 35,555,612 4,674,675 15%
Charles Leclerc 9,489,717 13,283,340 3,793,623 40%
Max Verstappen 9,497,841 11,055,412 1,557,571 16%
Daniel Ricciardo 7,725,693 8,914,715 1,189,022 15%
Carlos Sainz 6,091,107 8,288,107 2,197,000 36%
Lando Norris 5,964,379 7,295,740 1,331,361 22%
Sergio Perez 5,286,262 6,546,965 1,260,703 24%
Fernando Alonso 4,874,467 6,537,758 1,663,291 34%
George Russell 4,026,345 4,947,669 921,324 23%
Pierre Gasly 3,707,199 4,734,022 1,026,823 28%
Valtteri Bottas 3,552,200 3,963,969 411,769 12%
Alex Albon 1,843,303 2,422,293 578,990 31%
Esteban Ocon 1,734,222 2,248,665 514,443 30%
Yuki Tsunoda 1,337,951 1,888,037 550,086 41%
Nico Hulkenberg 1,368,452 1,673,646 305,194 22%
Oscar Piastri 554,521 1,581,479 1,026,958 185%
Kevin Magnussen 1,068,182 1,311,799 243,617 23%
Lance Stroll 849,436 1,192,626 343,190 40%
Guanyu Zhou 734,371 1,101,452 367,081 50%
Logan Sargeant 167,478 675,013 507,535 303%

F1 driver with the most Instagram followers

Unsurprisingly, Lewis Hamilton is the F1 driver with the most Instagram followers, with 35.6 million followers at the end of 2023.

His notoriety spans well outside the Formula 1 and motorsport sphere. He’s one of the most recognizable men on the planet and despite already having 30 million followers at the end of 2022, the 2023 season gained him an extra 4.67 million.

The amount of followers he gained this year is more than any driver in the bottom half of the list has in total. Lewis’ influence continues to spread far and wide, despite another poor run of results in his lackluster Mercedes this year.

It was also a good year for Charles Leclerc’s Instagram. The handsome Monégasque gained nearly 4 million followers in the 2023 season despite not winning a race, keeping him at #2 spot in the list.

Daniel Ricciardo is the ever-smiling, ever-popular Aussie who returned to the grid this year. That no doubt increased his visibility and helped boost his follower count, which rose by over 1 million this season taking him close to 9 million total followers.

Fernando Alonso completed his 20th season in Formula 1, having switched to Aston Martin for the year. And what a move that turned out to be. His early season form saw 6 podiums from the first 8 races. That returned him to the spotlight and helped his follower count increase by over 1.6 million in 2023.

Biggest % gain in followers

Looking at the total number of followers or the amount of new followers doesn’t tell the whole story. If we flip the data and order it by percentage increase year-on-year, we get a very different graph.

And who’s at the top of that graph? It’s the two rookies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that if you want to see a massive amount of growth in Instagram followers in a very short space of time, then you need a seat on the Formula 1 grid.

Logan Sargeant had a lowly 167k followers at the end of 2022. Even though he has a poor first year, scoring just 1 point, at the end of his first full F1 season his Instagram had shot up to over 675k. That’s an increase of 303%, a huge jump thanks to the exposure he’s received from being part of the Formula One media circus.

It’s pretty much the same story for Oscar Piastri. Whilst he already had half a million followers before starting his first race for McLaren, now he has over 1.5 million. Oscar had an incredible first year in the sport, taking two podiums and winning the Qatar sprint race. Amazing achievements for his rookie season, and ones which definitely helped him in gaining over 1 million followers this year.

At the other end of that graph we’ve got Bottas. He had a nothing year with a best result of 8th place, keeping himself out of the media spotlight along the way. Perhaps his naked charity calendar did more to boost his social media following than any of his driving.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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