Sunday, 13 January 2013

The 2012 Formula 1 Google Champion!

Which formula 1 driver is the most searched for on Google...

During the winter break I always get formula 1 withdrawal symptoms, so to help me pass the time until the new season begins, I decided to do some research and investigate which of the current drivers are the most popular with fans.  There isn’t really a scientific way of doing this without asking every formula 1 fan in the world, but I thought the next best thing would be to check the number of searches each driver gets on Google every month and then list the drivers in order of Google popularity.

For those who don’t know already, as well as their famous search engine, Google also have a cool feature called Google Keywords Tool which allows you to look up how many searches a particular search term gets on average per month.

Anyway, at the end of 2012 I did a check for each of the 25 drivers who took part in the 2012 formula 1 driver’s championship and then ranked them in order to see how closely the Google table compares with the actual final standings of the 2012 driver’s championship.

So in keeping with tradition, here is the list of formula 1 drivers ranked by monthly Google searches in reverse order…


21 Nico Hulkenberg 12,100
22= Jean-Eric Vergne 9,900
22= Timo Glock 9,900
24= Daniel Ricciardo 8,100
24= Jerome D'Ambrosio 8,100

The figures shown relate to the average number of Google searches made per month and I believe that Google use some rounding in their formulas which accounts for the equal figures for 22nd and 24th.  When you consider that even the least searched for drivers are still getting a respectable 8,100 searches per month (97,200 per year), that’s not a bad reflection of the overall popularity of formula 1.

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16 Charles Pic 22,200
17= Heikki Kovalainen 14,800
17= Kamui Kobayashi 14,800
17= Narain Karthikeyan 14,800
17= Paul Di Resta 14,800

The number of searches is already starting to climb with Charles Pic getting 22,200 per month which equates to over a quarter of a million Google searches per year.

Also, in fairness to Kamui Kobayashi I should point out that these statistics are for searches made in English, so I would therefore presume there are lots more searches made in Japan where his name will be typed using Japanese kanji.  Unfortunately though, with the exception of ‘mouth’ (
口), ‘mountain’ (山) and ‘small’ (小), I can’t read kanji so I was therefore unable to take into account any searches made using the kanji spelling of Kamui’s name.


11 Sergio Perez 60,500
12 Romain Grosjean 49,500
13 Nico Rosberg 40,500
14 Pedro De la Rosa 33,100
15 Vitali Petrov 27,100
Sergio Perez narrowly misses out on a place in the top ten and I was surprised that Nico Rosberg didn’t rank higher, although to be fair he still gets almost half a million Google searches per year (486,000 to be precise).  Once again I should probably point out that in fairness to Vitali Petrov these statistics relate to Google searches made in English, so I would assume there are many more searches made using the Russian spelling of Vitali’s name.


6 Jenson Button 135,000
7= Bruno Senna 90,500
7= Mark Webber 90,500
7= Pastor Maldonado 90,500
10 Felipe Massa 74,000
By now the figures are increasing quite significantly with Jenson Button getting 135,000 Google searches per month, which equates to 1.62 million searches per year.  I was slightly surprised to see Felipe Massa ranking only 10th, but maybe this is a reflection of his poor form during the first two thirds of the season.

And so finally, onto the top five…


1 Fernando Alonso 450,000
2= Kimi Raikkonen 301,000
2= Lewis Hamilton 301,000
2= Michael Schumacher 301,000
5 Sebastian Vettel 201,000
As you can see, despite claiming his third successive formula 1 title, Sebastian Vettel could only manage fifth when it comes to popularity on Google.

Second place in the Google popularity stakes was shared by Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, so despite Michael’s comparative lack of success during his ‘second life’ in formula 1, it’s clear that Schumi remains a popular driver with the fans.

And I’m sure it will be little consolation to Fernando, but when it comes to Google popularity he’s well ahead of the rest of the field with almost half a million searches per month, equating to  a massive 5.4 million searches per year.  To put it another way, someone searches for ‘Fernando Alonso’ on Google every 5.84 seconds!

When all these figures are added together it comes to an impressive 2.4 million searches per month, or 28.5 million per year.  Not bad when you consider that these figures only relate to drivers’ full names.  For example, searches such as ‘Alonso’, ‘Schumacher retiring’ or ‘Jenson Button Australia win’ aren’t included in the above figures, so the 28.5 million searches per year are only a very small part of the overall number of formula 1 related searches made on Google every year.

To help me cope with my formula 1 withdrawal symptoms I also checked out a few more formula 1 related Google search terms, so if you're hungry for more f1 statistics then check out the following links:
Which Formula 1 Driver Is Most Popular In His Home Country?
The 2012 Formula 1 Constructors' Google Champion
What Are The Most Popular Worldwide Sports Based On Google Searches?

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