Figures have been released that show the global TV audience of Formula One has decreased in 2012, despite producing one of the most exciting seasons in recent years.
A massive drop of 34% in China has helped attribute to the fall in numbers, as well as early morning starts in the sports traditional home of Europe.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said the drop in China and other parts of the world were to blame.
“A small handful of territories didn’t meet expectations in terms of reach, with the Chinese market suffering a decrease which could not be absorbed by a significant number of increases elsewhere,” he said.
Despite figures dropping from 515 million in 2011 to around 500 million in 2012, several countries saw a significant increase in viewers last season. Brazil was one of these, with an 8.9% increase, as well as improvements in Spain (11.5%) and Italy (15%) that can be attributed to the strong showing of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari.
Other countries to experience drops in viewers included Russia and the US, while in the UK, figures dropped as Britons experienced two options to watch the sport on the BBC and Sky Sports. Viewers in the UK fell by 3.8 million.
With TV audiences dropping, several countries are now turning to subscription TV packages for the sport, with France, Italy and the Netherlands all offering similar deals to the UK with coverage split between Pay TV and free-to-air.
Australian audiences once again will see the sport broadcast on Channel Ten in 2013.
(Image copyright F1Fanatic)