It’s never easy leaving an establishment behind and going it alone, but that’s exactly what Formula 1 fans Matt Gallagher and Tom Bellingham did when they ditched WTF1 for their startup, P1.
And in the five months since the inception of P1 with Matt & Tommy, the duo have racked up over 4m listens and 1.3m followers across all platforms.
So going it solo is one thing, but thriving is another.
F1, P1, No1?
“We decided we wanted to take control and build something of our own,” Gallagher tells City A.M. ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone.
“It was a scary leap but the right decision. There’s a lot of variables when it comes to building a business and there are plenty of things outside of your control.
“The reaction was absolutely crazy, we can’t quite believe it.”
Bellingham agrees. “Everyone said they will support us but it’s easier said than done to make that leap,” he says.
“The success we’ve had, it’s been crazy how quickly it’s all happened and how successful it has been.
Gallagher is a Charles Leclerc fan while Tom supports two-time world champion Max Verstappen – who leads the drivers championship by 81 points from teammate Sergio Perez.
It looks as if Red Bull will roll their way towards another constructor title with, in all likelihood, Dutchman Verstappen winning his third consecutive solo title.
But in a world of Formula 1 Drive to Survive and the need for fans to be entertained beyond the track limits, does the same result really help the sport permanently capture the audiences it enticed through Netflix?
“You’re realising what Verstappen dominance is potentially doing to the sport in the long run,” Gallagher says.
Peak of the mountain
“I feel as though the sport is right at the peak of the mountain at the moment and we’ve captured all of this new audience and we’ve humanised the drivers so a huge hoard of fans – especially from America – have come on board.
“But the problem is one of the things that perhaps Drive to Survive didn’t teach us a narrative is that Formula 1 has huge periods of dominance and it can sometimes be incredibly dull.”
“2021 [where Verstappen controversially won the title on the very final lap of the season] really did bring a lot of new fans in and maybe [gave them] a crazy expectation,” Bellingham adds.
“Look at the years before that and [Lewis] Hamilton was wrapping up the title in Mexico and the weird thing is I am even already kind of bored with it. It’s not as fun.
“The start last year was really good, I know Leclerc had a lot of problems but until halfway through the season there was at least a chance you saw different winners.”
So what’s the current dream team on the grid, assuming there were no rules.
Well Matt, based in south west London, said he’d pick Verstappen alongside Zhou Guanyu while Tom backed his man Verstappen alongside Esteban Ocon (and dreamed of a Verstappen-Hamilton driving force).
Both podcasters picked, obviously, Red Bull as their constructor while Tom backed the Raging Bulls again by picking Christian Horner as his team principal – Matt picked James Vowles of Williams.
The climate is tough at the moment and sport can often be the escape for many, but in Gallagher and Bellingham is a duo who backed themselves and who are succeeding off the back of it.
They took a leap of faith. Is that a lesson to some of us? Maybe.