Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

McLaren ‘could sell minority stake in F1 team’

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In the round-up: McLaren is reported to be considering a sale of a minority stake in its Formula 1 team.

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Comment of the day

Neil considers the numerical obstacle to improving diversity in top-flight motorsport:

I think F1’s ‘diversity problem’ is rather more difficult to address than that of mass-participation sports, due to the very broad-based pyramid it sits on top of and the dearth of non-white-majority countries with serious grassroots racing scenes.

A kid starts off in casual karting, moves to semi-serious, then serious karting, then Formula Ford or Renault, a National F3, International F3, maybe F2, and F1. To get to the end of that road you need talent for driving, high fitness, the right mental character, emotional and logistical support from family, focus, willingness to sacrifice other things… and massive financial backing, way beyond the means of all but the most wealthy, or those able to secure sponsors.

If (number out of thin air but it sounds about right) 2,000 British kids get as far as semi-serious karting, one or two of them might end up in F1. And semi-serious karting is probably the stage you’d need to kick off a programme to increase participation diversity at.

So using UK demographics (the UK being one of the few countries with a serious grassroots racing scene, which kids would need to progress through) for those 2,000… assuming perfect equality of opportunity (not currently present), 1,740 would be white, 160 would be Asian, 60 would be black, 40 would be mixed race. Even if you make a huge investment and address discrimination issues to create that perfect equality of opportunity, the kids from that cohort who make it to F1 are still overwhelmingly likely to be white.

Same if you did it in the other countries with big grassroots scenes – France, Germany, Italy, USA.

I like to think it would work, and such an approach would certainly increase the probability of a more diverse grid, but there’d be no guarantees.
Neil (@neilosjames)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 7 comments on “McLaren ‘could sell minority stake in F1 team’”

    1. Absolutely agree with CoTD.

      I’d be interested to see how F1 plans to become more diverse. How will it achieve this? Only good can come of this right?….right?

      1. It is a very good COTD, but the primary diversity issue wasn’t mentioned at all. Fifty percent of the population is female… If the ratio of top grade women drivers to male drivers is only 1:100 we should still expect one or two women to have won a GP.

    2. A Ron Dennis comeback?

      1. @balue Unlikely.

    3. From the Mercedes article:

      “With this move we are strategically supplementing our modular technology and tailoring it to our performance requirements.“

      Straight out of the fake business-jargon generator. Pretty sure I’ve seen this exact sentence spat out of the Faker.js library I use to mock content when building websites 😂

      1. Basically they could have said “we are selling part of our f1 team because we need cash”.

    4. Take social justice out of racing. Stop trying to out-white knight each other.

    Comments are closed.