McLaren shifts digital focus to fan experience

McLaren F1: re-launching website
McLaren F1: re-launching website

Formula 1 team McLaren is stepping up its online and mobile activity to coincide with the start of this year's racing season in Melbourne at the weekend.

McLaren is attempting to improve the racing experience for fans through the mobile platform and its revamped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team website.

It aims to drive deeper engagement with the team's fans during the season and offer them an accompaniment to watching races on TV.

The site, which relaunches this week, has an upgraded telemetry data facility – covering raw technical car data, such as engine revs and speed, delivered in real time – to improve the user experience.

The site, created by Work Club, will also deliver live updates on the team, which includes British former F1 world champion drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Commentary from the team will be added to the site alongside data during the races.

Derek Harbinson, head of digital media at McLaren, said that changes to the site were intended to make the brand seem "warmer" online than it had in the past through its digital activity.

He said: "We want to make sure that our digital communications match the standards we have set ourselves in everything else we do."

As part of the strategy, McLaren is looking to bring fans closer to the team through social media. As well as increasing its levels of activity on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the team has added a Facebook app to its site that enables fans to discuss the races in real time with friends while watching the live race and data feeds.

The site is also optimised for mobile, meaning fans can watch the telemetry data on their handset for the first time.

Meanwhile, McLaren is planning to develop its first branded apps, on the themes of gaming and the team's history. Vodafone had previously launched a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team app.

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