F1's new owners relax social media rules

Clive Mason/Getty Images

BARCELONA, Spain -- The post-Bernie Ecclestone era of Formula One is already in full swing, with new owners Liberty Media giving teams and drivers greater freedom to engage with fans on social media.

Ecclestone, who famously shunned social media and once said F1 did not need to engage with a younger audience, was removed from his role as CEO and handed an honorary chairman emeritus role when Liberty's takeover of F1 was completed in January. Previously filming of any sort was banned inside the paddock for anyone other than broadcasters with a TV deal and Formula One Management (FOM) themselves, with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton told to remove clips they had posted on numerous occasions last year.

Ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona this week, teams were given a letter by the new owners which confirmed a relaxation of rules around social media, encouraging them to post short clips from the Circuit de Catalunya and of their drivers. World champions Mercedes took the lead on this on Monday, doing an Instagram Live of Hamilton's preparations for a hot lap of the circuit -- showing his view from inside the cockpit as the final checks are made to his car in the garage.

On another video posted on Tuesday, Mercedes gave a good insight into the life of a mechanic at testing, showing their night shift crew coming to the circuit to work on the car -- clocking off just as Hamilton arrived in the morning.

But the posts were not restricted solely to Mercedes. Red Bull gave fans a closer look behind the scenes of Barcelona on Monday, posting a 'Day in the life of Daniel Ricciardo', showing the Australian arriving at the circuit in the morning, having breakfast, conducting some last-minute training, before heading out of the garage for the opening day of testing. It then showed Max Verstappen's preparations for his first day at the wheel on Tuesday.

Toro Rosso also gave a glimpse of its visually stunning STR12 being wheeled back into the garage during the first day of testing.

Further guidelines on social media rules for the rest of the season are expected to follow before the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March.