Putting the Britishness back into F1

© Jessica Western, 7 July 2012
© Mercedes

2012 is a massive year for Britain, particularly in sport. With the Wimbledon finals and the British Grand Prix this weekend and the London 2012 Olympics just weeks away the country is poised to get behind its sporting elite.

For motorsport in particular fans not only have high hopes for the British drivers in the event to support them to a potential podium finish, but also to support the Formula 1 teams that have so much invested in Britain itself. The country plays a huge part in the current successes and popularity of F1 and should rightly use the British Grand Prix weekend to celebrate and promote this fact.

According to industry experts F1 has never been more closely tied to Britain. Out of the 12 teams racing this weekend eight of them have a base in the UK. Whilst F1’s roots have always been inherently British they have in recent years been re-established and some may say that we are now in a very British era of the sport.

Formula 1 epitomises what is and was once great about British car manufacturing and whilst the British car industry generally has struggled through the recession the culmination of skills shown by formula one teams have many ties to Britain.

Ailing Car Industry
Generally speaking the UK car industry has particularly struggled through the recession as many consumers found it difficult to get loans for cars. This meant that the production for new cars was down despite the fact that there were new innovations and technologies surrounding hybrid vehicles etc.

It was a similar story, albeit slightly less bleak in the used car market as resellers struggled to get fair prices for vehicles and especially at the high end of the market used car credit is scarce. Despite the downturn there were companies out there willing to lend in order to kick start growth and as a result in the first quarter of 2012 the UK car market saw a rise of 3.19%. These signs of new growth showed consumers that there was new potential and that confidence was being restored enough to boost consumer credit and guaranteed car finance.

Chance to Celebrate
All this means that the British Grand Prix is a chance to celebrate the successes of UK car manufacturing and its role in fuelling the economy. Some would argue that it is long overdue that F1 is given its due credit for boosting economies all over the world but particularly in Britain where it is said to generate in the region of £5 billion a year.

It is also reported that Formula 1 involves 4000 British companies in varying capacities and that is even before you take into account sponsorship deals, marketing, promotion and advertising. In terms of employment the eight teams based in the UK employ 4000 people which is a massive commitment to Britain.

With all this in mind it seems almost unbelievable that only two years ago the British Grand Prix was nearly stopped altogether. Thankfully this didn’t happen and the iconic race is only a few days away but it is unthinkable to know that the investment that Britain has in the sport was so undervalued at the time.

With the 2012 drivers’ championship so finely balanced and two British stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button seeking podiums after a disappointing European GP it will be a race not to be missed.

The weather promises to shake things up too and perhaps it would be fitting if the weather was as British as the event will be. Early forecasts are not positive but perhaps that is what will give McLaren the home advantage as well as an opportunity for trying out new tyre strategies. Rain is sure to spice things up on the track and add to the overall excitement for fans.

Here is hoping that the Hamilton doesn’t fall foul to any pit lane blunders this weekend as the McLaren team have at times been his own worst enemy by making fumbles and traffic light errors in the pit lanes to his detriment.

The weekend is sure to fly the flag not only for Britain but for Formula 1 in general as fans from Britain and around the world get to support their teams at what is considered the home of motorsport.


Jessica Western is a freelance sports writer from London, England. She's loved motor sport since growing up in NYC and going to Indy every year with her father. Since moving to England she's found a new passion in F1.


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