LONDON, Feb 03, 2014 (AFP) - German Formula One superstar Sebastian Vettel's coasting to a fourth successive world drivers title last year had an adverse effect on global TV audiences according to figures revealed by the Autosport website on Monday.
The 26-year-old Red Bull driver won 13 of the 19 races in easing to the title.
However, it wasn't to television spectators liking as the total slumped from 500million in 2012 -- when Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battled it out to the final race -- to 450million according to Global Media Report which was published by Formula One Management, who hold the commercial rights to Formula One and produce the images used by broadcasters.
While Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone put the reason for the fall partly down to last season having one race less than the previous year he conceded that Vettel's dominance, especially in the second part of the season when he won nine successive races, as also turning people off.
"The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on
reach," wrote Ecclestone.
The most significant drop in viewing figures came in China where the race was switched from state TV to regional stations and as a result lost 30million viewers from the year before.
France too saw numbers melt away as for the first year the race was broadcast solely on pay TV channel Canal Plus, which paid a king's ransom to outbid TF1 the long-time home to Formula One tv spectators in France.
Figures there saw a loss of 17million viewers from 27 million in 2012 to 10 million.
By contrast three countries showed significant rises in viewers, those being the United States, Great Britain and Italy.