This unlikely partnership will see the worlds of football and formula 1 collide. In the long-term, their collaboration could force serious positive change to motorsport.
At the end of February this year, Formula 1 and Premier League football team, Tottenham Hotspur, announced a 15 year partnership. The deal involves various initiatives that will look to help the two brands achieve shared targets, such as reduced carbon emissions. However, the feature of this deal that has grabbed the headlines is the construction of a racing track in Spurs’ stadium.
Set to be situated underneath the south stand of the state-of-the-art Tottenham Stadium, it will become the world’s first in-stadium electric karting facility, and the longest in London. They plan on having separate tracks for adults and kids, meaning this new facility aligns with Motorsport UK’s aim to ‘inspire and enable more people to participate in our sport in a safe, fair, fun, inclusive and progressive environment.’
This isn’t Spurs’ first joint project with another sport however, as a deal was agreed back in 2018 which sees 2 NFL games a season played at their stadium. The stadium is the perfect venue for projects like these, as its ultra-advanced technology means the football ground can be split and rolled away, allowing for the stadium to be transformed into an NFL ground.
Since building their new stadium in 2018, Spurs have had the ambition to make waves in fields other than their own, becoming more than just a football club. The club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, commented, ‘Since building this stadium our ambition has always been to see how far we can push the boundaries in delivering world-class experiences that will attract people from around the world all year round. We have been able to bring the biggest names in sport and entertainment to London N17. We are extremely excited about what this long-term partnership with F1 will bring for our global, national and local communities.’
Aside from the remarkable racing track, it’s important to explore why else this deal makes sense for F1. The two brands share similar aims when it comes to climate change, and the stadium’s North London location makes it the perfect venue for F1 to achieve their target of making the sport more diverse. But how will they go about actually achieving this…?
Shared sustainability targets
As we often highlight at RTR, F1 is growing at an incredible rate, and the sport’s increased global reach has seen them initiate a lot of positive change in the world. The issue of climate change was one that the sport attacked head-on, with an ambitious plan established centring around the target to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.
Similarly, Spurs have launched various initiatives aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. Examples include sustainable energy for the stadium, a reusable cup scheme, a detailed ecological plan, among many other things. Spurs have really set an example for other Premier League football clubs, and the club being placed at the top of the ‘Premier League Sustainability Table’ is evidence of the great work they have put in.
It is clear to see that these are two brands with shared objectives, thus aligning with each other makes a lot of sense. As a part of the partnership, they will be working together on new sustainability initiatives with a view to achieving their respective targets. F1 are looking to be net zero carbon by 2030, whilst Spurs will be looking to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 before also becoming net zero by 2040.
Work in the community
The location of the stadium was undoubtedly a massive factor in F1’s decision to partner with Spurs, but maybe not for the reasons you are thinking of. This partnership looks to be more than just a commercial one, as F1 are aiming to use Spurs’ diverse fanbase to work towards increasing diversity in motorsport.
Located in London, the Tottenham Stadium is in one of the most diverse cities in world. In the 2021 census 46.2% of residents identified with Asian, black, mixed or ‘other’ ethnic groups, and a further 17% with white ethnic minorities. This makes London the ideal city for F1 to carry out their mission, and they are offering a wide range of opportunities for all different types of people.
Spurs and F1 will be teaming up to develop a new driver academy programme to help identify a new wave of talent. Spurs certainly don’t lack for knowledge on engaging the youth in London as they currently have one of the best football academies in the country, and if they can share their expertise with F1, it may not be long before the next Lewis Hamilton is unearthed. Other grassroots programmes will include them delivering educational activities in schools to showcase careers in motorsport, engineering, and even software development. This will help highlight a perhaps unknown career path to millions of students.
Just like the sustainability targets, the ambition to offer more opportunities to young people is mutual, and if the brands pool their knowledge they could have great success. F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali highlights this, ‘Our two brands have a shared vision to create life-changing career opportunities, promote diversity and inclusion, such as through the recently announced F1 Academy, and driving environmental sustainability – our innovative partnership will bring all of this to life.’
But why are F1 so focused on specifically engaging London’s youth? This partnership follows Lewis Hamilton’s establishment of The Hamilton Commission in 2020. It was set up by the F1 legend in a bid to ‘improve the representation of black people in UK sport,’ and has taken huge strides towards getting more young black people involved in the motorsports world. Hamilton vowed to help break down the barriers that he feels have stopped motorsport from being ‘as diverse as the world around us’. F1’s partnership with Spurs will certainly build on Hamilton’s great work and should begin to inspire more underrepresented groups in the UK to get involved in motorsport, whether that be through the F1 driver academy or a wide range of apprenticeship schemes.
Pictures, top to bottom: Max Verstappen driving at Nagy Futam 2018 © Práger Péter, Fotóshírek szerkesztőség, Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication