Is F1’s current discourse actually anything new?

Following on from the disastrous launch of Visa-Cash App RB team, The F1 discourse around the increased commercialism around the sport has ramped up. But is any of this new or is it an old argument regurgitated for a new generation?

Credit: Visa Cashapp RB

What are the current issues?

If you go onto F1’s social media right now, you will see plenty of accusations being thrown around of advertising before sport and a seeming focus on profit before fans.

These arguments can be seen as having merit as with the new team name for Alpha-Tauri being a branding exercise and without any heritage or new non-brand based moniker.

This decision has also increased the ringing of alarm bells amongst teams such as McLaren as Zak Brown is concerned about the increased technical allegiance between Red Bull and this team being its sister with him saying:

“I think the A-B team is a real problem moving forward. I think co-ownership, you don’t really have that in any other sport, and I think that provides a lot of conflict of interest.”

This new team name therefore has furthered concern as essentially its Visa- Cash App Red Bull which also suggests that Red Bull no longer want each of their teams to be individual outfits and instead wants its second team to be purely an extension of Red Bull and not a separate constructor which in essence goes against the Formula One ethos.

This current gripe amongst the current base has also been furthered with the recent announcement that the Spanish Grand Prix will move from its current home at the circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to a new street circuit based in the Ifema area of Madrid.

This has increased concern that F1 no longer feels the need to protect what are seen as heritage circuits and would rather take on (as it is in this case) a 10 year deal. While its understandable street circuits better fit the current vision of Liberty media (F1’s owners) in that they can support the vision of a “Grand Prix festival”.

There is large concern that if they pursue this further a large core fans base of purists may leave the sport all together and could impact on F1s current growth.

Is any of this new or is it just an old argument regurgitated for a new generation? 


While its easily thought that these issues with Formula One are brand new, A lot of these conversations have been had for multiple years with some dating back even 20 years.

For example in the below debate with Damon Hill and ex FIA head Max Moseley. There is talk around the increased commercialisation thanks to the heavy use of tobacco sponsors such as BAT (British American Tobacco) and the persistent rumour of a London grand prix which has always been seen as F1’s holy grail.

However at the time of this debate there was also further concern that is currently not applicable in terms of that no team could catch Ferrari and Micheal Schumacher which was to the sports detriment at the time.

This therefore proves that this argument has simply been brought to the attention of the new generation of fans and while fans are nervous as to where this street track and sponsor rise will lead. They need to remember that this has always been around and isn’t a new concern.

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