Formula One Racing, also known as Grand Prix racing, can trace its roots back to early road races in France in the late 1800s. It survived both world wars and emerged as one of Europe’s most established and impressive sports. It is dominated by primarily Italian, French, British and German teams who have developed teams of multiple cars and drivers (Manishin, 2002). The F1 racing is governed by the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) and is considered “the sole international sporting authority entitled to make and enforce regulations for the encouragement and control of automobile competitions and records, and to organize FIA International Championships and shall be the final international court of appeal for the settlement of disputes” (International Sporting Code,2006).
F1 drivers can be licensed by any national automobile club or association (ASN) so long as the driver is a citizen of that nation or to foreigners who can show proof of permanent residence in that country or are given permission by the ASN, which is granted once a year. Furthermore the code notes that drivers who are licensed by a country other than their own origin, will retain the nationality that is on their passport for all official meetings, documents, news events and prize ceremonies. A driver who is native of a country that is not not yet represented by the FIA may still be licensed but only after an investigation by the FIA International Sporting Code, 2006).
F1 racing is ranked third as the most-watched live sporting event. Only the Olympics and the World Cup draw more viewers. It is the most-watched racing event internationally. F1 racing draws international viewers to all countries which host races (The, 1999).
II. Research Problem
A. General Problem
Since its inception, Formula 1 racing has been dominated by European drivers and European racing companies. As a result, team owners and race car drivers have also been primarily European. Sponsors shell out millions of dollars to deserving teams in order to have their products visible to the 354 million live and television viewers (Flaherty, 2003).
Unfortunately, like NASCAR, its American counterpart, F1 Racing is primarily white European. As a result, attention has been drawn to possible discrimination worries and to plans to internationalize the sport. Other problems include “arguments over tobacco advertising, demands by countries to be included in the Formula 1 programme, existing circuits jealously guarding their precious slot, criticisms of venues, accusations of monopoly power and discussions about exactly where the sport is going given the vast sums of money involved” (Formula One: The Money Business, 2004).
Money is at the top of the list. The gaps in financing between elite teams and starting teams is huge. Ferrari has a budget of about 350 million dollars while a smaller team, Minardi, competes with only 40 million dollars. Some of these massive teams receive free engines from their sponsors and have much more to work with than smaller teams. The cost of maintaining the teams is also unbelievably high. Teams will go through nearly 1000 tires each year which cost about $2500 dollars each. A team will use about 16 gearboxes at about 75,000 each, and the prices keep soaring (Formula One: The Money Business, 2004).
The problem is that with such high costs and monopolistic power held by the high-end established teams, where do the newer cars and drivers fit in. It seems nearly impossible that a small team from a smaller country with fewer technological and economic resources would be able to thrive in this environment. At the head of the Formula 1 empire is Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone owns the commercial and marketing rights for the sport and as such wields a huge amount of power. Many feel that he is abusing his power. The European Union has also looked into allegations that that the FIA prevents competition in the sport. This is particularly relevant to countries who wish to stage a grand prix race in order to make the obvious revenues from tourism (Formula One: The Money Business, 2004).
Gaps in Knowledge
In order to break into F1 Racing, non European teams and drivers have to overcome financial, technological and political obstacles. Only a few teams outside of Europe have been able to successfully break into F1 Racing.
The aim of this proposal is to examine how the race and ethnicity of two new F1 drivers might impact their own country and people.
III. Research Objectives
This research proposal will seek to include the following objectives:
1. Oftentimes sports bring money, fame and popularity not only to the driver but to the driver’s country of origin as well. Several American and Asian drivers have raced in F1. Thus, this paper will seek to analyze the success of previous non European drivers in the F1 circuit and to gage the relative successes of these drivers and the impact it had on their countries.
2. The Trade Environmental Database has studied Malaysia as an example of an F1 site which may be used as a model for further F1 development. This country is smaller and has been studied as to the economic benefits that a F1 track will have on it. Thus, this paper seeks to
to use Malaysia as a case study for the effects of F1 racing on a smaller, less developed country.
3. F1 racing has been accused of attempting to prevent or discourage competition from entering its ranks. However, the European Union has set regulations that now create hardships for advertising during sporting events in EU nations, especially concerning the use of tobacco advertising. Therefore, some new competition in non-European countries would benefit the F1 teams. This paper seeks to predict the benefits to F1 racing if international development were to occur
5. Robert Kubica is the first Polish driver to join the ranks of F1 racing. This paper seeks to analyzing the impact that his home country of Poland might experience as a result of Kubica racing. to analyze specifically the Polish driver Robert Kubica and black driver Lewis Hamilton and the possible effects on their home countries.
6. Lewis Hamilton is the first black driver to join the ranks of F1 racing. This paper seeks to ascertain the impact that diverse ethnicities among drivers has on the sport itself and among that particular ethnic group.
IV. Suggested Literature Review
A. Case Study – Malaysia
Malaysia is the first country in the South East Asia to have a Formula 1 track and, behind Japan, the second in Asia. Formula 1 brings in much needed revenues to the countries in which there are tracks, or circuits. Most important of all, the circuit brings in racing fans from all around the world creating at type of tourist attraction in the hosting country. The Sepang International F1 Circuit is part of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) project: thus Sepang is now set to become Selangor’s No.1 economic growth center before the turn of the century. The once poor farming community will now see changes in terms of economic development (Teh, 1999).
Some of the greatest benefits of the Sepang F1 Circuit is the international recognition that Malaysia will receive. Malaysia could learn from the influx of technology to advance its own society. In addition, the revenue brought into the country is huge. Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun described Formula One as “that giant vacuum cleaner that sucks up money at an alarming rate but also brings in annual revenue of more than RM1 billion (US$261.78 million)” (Teh, 1999). Ticket sales, passes, tourism, and taxes, broadcasting, and advertising are all ways for Malaysia to make money from this F1 track. In fact, SIC will be able to bring in more sponsors as most of the tobacco companies are restricted from advertising in several European nations (Teh, 1999).
Poland is a country which might benefit in the same way as Malaysia. Robert Kubica is the first Polish driver to race the F1 circuit. He will be easily compared to Malaysia’s Alex Yoong, whos goal is to race F1. With the SIC in Malaysia, this dream is possible. With Kubica as a similar rising star, hosting a race in Poland does not seem so far out of the realm of possibility.
C. Advertising Benefits
The European Union has banned tobacco advertising in sporting engagements because of its detrimental effects in general and because of its pointed targeting of teenagers. By hosting races in other countries, such as Poland, these teams could continue to generate revenue from the tobacco sponsors (Pfanner, 2006).
F1 racing has been primarily dominated by white Europeans with a few Asian and one Indian driver to join its ranks. The American NASCAR is also a predominantly white racing forum. As a result, NASCAR has come under attack as being racist and discriminatory because it has had only one black driver, and he failed to acquire adequate sponsorship and adequate success in this venture. Civil rights leader and reverend Jesse Jackson has made his presence known in NASCAR. According to Flaherty (2003), “auto racing has traditionally been a so-called white man’s sport.” In 1991 Willy Ribbs became the first black man to qualify for the Indy 500. Bill Lester is the only black man on the NASCAR ciruit (Flaherty, 2003). However, INDY car and NASCAR have slowly been able to attract black fans, over 2 million, with the slow addition of black drivers and black team owners, such as the one Jackson is dealing for with Dr. Pepper (Flaherty, 2003).
Recently, F1 racing acquired Lewis Hamilton, its first black driver. He is proud of his heritage, that of a black British citizen, and notes that “The way I see it, my colour is an advantage in that it’s something people talk about. Being the first black man doesn’t matter much to me personally, but for the sport itself, it probably means quite a lot” (Garside and Britten, 2006). Hamilton is a British citizen whose father is the son of an immigrant from Trinidad.
Hopefully, the addition of Hamilton, like Lester and Ribbs, will draw more attention to the sport, encourage the development of more minority-owned racing teams and attract more black fans to racing.
But the progress has not been very fast. The slow addition of black and other ethnic groups into racing is primarily due to sponsorships. For example, racing is private, for-profit business which has, more than any other sport, intense fan loyalty not only to drivers and teams, but also to sponsors. This, too, makes it hard to attract black drivers (Flaherty, 2003). Moore (2006) cites Jeffrey Coles, owner of One Shot Racing, an African American racing team. He proposes that sponsorship for black race teams can be found in urban culture. “Hip-hop associates can – record and apparel corporations, sports figures, folks who are recognized by the urban culture –they can [provide sponsorship]. And they’d be a perfect fit for us. What we offer as a team is that since we’re the only one, we create hyper exposure. We’re such a rarity, everyone is attracted to us. It’s like when Tiger Woods came into golf or Venus and Serena Williams came into tennis.” Clearly sponsorship is available for minority owned race teams.
V. The Research Design
Primary and Secondary Data Collection
The purpose of this section is to identify and justify the chosen method of the primary data collection methods as well as the secondary data collection methods used. Primary data collection methods will be in the form of questionnaires and survey administered face-to-face to face fans in Monoco and Great Britain and a web-based survey on F1 racing sites and discussion forums. The secondary data will in the form of qualitative research on cases from Malaysia, India and Japan.
Type of Research
This research will, in part, be considered social research. Social research is a style of research that relies heavily on the views of the writer as well as the interview subjects. According to Richie, (1994), “The concept of research is diffused and highly abused. While it is generally agreed that the term refers to some systematic form of investigation of a given topic its true significance is seen to vary within both the area of application as well as the perceptions of different individuals within a given field.” This research follows a model to undertake the research process. This is described below in Figure 1.
The Research Process
Data Proposition Research
Analysis questions/ hypothesis
Inductive Data Collection Deductive
Figure 1.The Research Wheel
The conceptual framework has been established as the effects of a F1 race car driver’s ethnicity on their home countries. The research questions give above are derived from this. Empirical evidence from existing countries and the data collected from the surveys will result in the analysis to be presented in the final project. Rudestam and Newton (1992) suggest that research is not linear but cyclical and repetitive. Therefore all the processes of the author’s research above will be used and reviewed so as to determine the overall outcome of the research.
Critical Research Paradigm
We are also focusing on a critical research paradigm which will deal with the racing environment solely. “The critical research paradigm focuses on a critical understanding of the
situation or practice being researched in order to plan for transformative action” (Winberg, 1997). The critical research approach is situated in the context of actual people and practices and emphasizes social change (Winberg 1997). If F1 racing wants to extend its reach into other countries for purposes of exposure and profit, it needs to examine how similar projects have been accomplished in the past.
A case study is a research carried out using material that already exists. This may include official documents and debates which can then be used to correlate with comparable studies. Conclusions are then drawn. This type of research is most helpful for topics that need not involve observation but operates through comparison and demands some inference and generalizations. “It is a research method which focuses on the characteristics, circumstances, and complexity of a single case, or a small number of cases” (Hofmann, 2006).
Case studies are conducted primarily using qualitative research. “Qualitative researchers unlike their quantitative counterparts frequently study individual phenomenon: a single person, females, males, or even a single setting. Qualitative research also lends itself to the study of race, gender, and culture” (Hofmann, 2006). Qualitative approaches are widely used in social research as they can be effective when ‘counting’ social phenomena. Riley et al. write, these methods are best used to investigative feelings, attitudes, values, perceptions, motivations – those unobservable, fluid and intangible factors that help explain human behavior. A number of books, magazines, newspapers, past surveys, internet sites, economic reports and journals will be used to extensively support the researcher’s primary data.
VI. Data Collection Methods
Online surveys and interview questionnaires will be used as well as noted research.
The survey and questionnaire recipients will be race fans located in Monaco and Great Britain. Every effort will be made to include fans of various ethnicities.
Considerations and Rationale
The surveys will extend the information from the research cases into the real world whereby actual race fans will ask questions that evolve from the case studies. A critical research paradigm will be used to with regard to the existing cases.
This research involves the following steps:
Survey design and preliminary planning – 2 weeks
Case study decisions and research – 2 weeks
Final survey design and planning – 2 weeks
Data collection – 1 month
Data analysis and reporting – 1 month
Flaherty, P. (2003). NASCAR gives Thousands to Jackson Nonprofits. Human Events, May 5
Formula One: The Money Business. (2004). Formula One Business. Retrieved 6 January 2007 from http://www.speedace.info/formula_one_money_business.htm
Hofmann, R. (2006). Eight Questions About Qualitative And Quantitative Research. Discussion at Miami University. Available from http://kerlins.net/bobbi/research/qualresearch/
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Manishin, G. (2002). Formula One: Art and Genius. Retrieved 6 January 2007 from http://www.f1- grandprix.com/history.html
Moore, G. (2006). Like-Minded Coaches. Black Athlete. Retrieved 6 January 2007 from http”//www.blackpressusa.com/news/Article.asp?SID=4&Title=Departments&NewsID= 4279
Pfanner, E. (2006). Formula One Kicks the Tobacco Habit. International Herald Tribune, Sunday, November 26
Teh, E. (1999). Formula 1 Racing, the Economy and the Environment. Trade Environmental Database. Retrieved 6 January 2007 from http://www.american.edu/TED/formula1.htm
Winberg, Chris. (1997).How to Research and Evaluate. Juta: Cape Town, South Africa.