Formula One And Alcohol

The equation ‘alcohol = celebration’ was planted in my head by Formula1. And no, it wasn’t the alcohol sponsorship in the sport, but the post-race podium ceremony. If Formula1 bans alcohol sponsorship, will this lead to an automatic ban on champagne celebrations on the podium? Raikkonen’s eagerness to race to the podium will only drop further! (Yes, I know that Bahrain and Abu Dhabi already use ‘rose water’ as a substitute). (Read: Helmet Ban(ter))

The alcohol ban should then extend to the team’s hospitality areas and the Paddock Club – in which case, I can already tell you that the ban won’t come into effect! Imagine telling a 70 year old Rolex wearing Formula1 fan (Bernie’s friends?) to shell out a few thousand dollars for ‘five star’ hospitality at the races but without alcohol! The funnier part is that Bernie would still believe that thousands will willingly pay those thousands! Sigh! (Read: Blame It On Bernie?)

In a world (Formula1) where revenue sources are limited, I wonder why Formula1 would even think of a blanket ban on alcohol sponsorship. Currently, this ban is exercised by the host country and its regulations and I believe this is where it should be left. (Read: A Strategy Of Errors)

Alcohol is a media restricted category (in a fair number of countries) which is also why brands spend heavily on sports and use the platform to reach out to their audiences. We all know how cash intensive our sport is, which is why it isn’t strange to me that the three teams that rely on heavily on alcohol sponsorships are privateer teams. (Yes, this includes Mclaren!)

‘Drink and Drive’ is possibly a bigger global problem than Formula1 – one that cuts across racial, caste, creed, sex and language barriers. I would rather that the FIA, FOM and the powers involved use the global platform of our sport to help spread the message of safety. ‘Make Roads Safe’, ‘Think Before You Drive’ and ‘Champions Drink Responsibly’ are few of the global campaigns that already exist.

While the sport is in aggressive pursuit of ‘road relevant’ technologies, it won’t cost much to remain ‘socially relevant’.

And before I sign off, here’s the latest episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast – ‘Raikkonen Needs A New Challenge?’ for your listening.

We love Kimi Raikkonen, we totally do! But it isn’t he who got selected as the ‘best driver’ by the team bosses, it was Lewis Hamilton (unsurprising!). At GBP 100 million, that’s some cost for a driver in this era of cost cutting. What is Mercedes really paying for though? And if FIA were to introduce ‘driver telemetry’ for the fans, we tell you how it could enhance a fan’s viewing experience. Tune in to the latest episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast and hear Rishi Kapoor and Kunal Shah speak, debate, argue and laugh out loud on various topics around the sport of Formula1. (Season 2015; Episode 19)

The Inside Line F1 Podcast is now available on various platforms and I would welcome you to choose your platform to listen to the humour that we add to the otherwise serious and complex sport of Formula1. And while our podcast frequency is weekly, come ‘like‘ the Inside Line F1 Podcast on Facebook and on Google+ for frequent humorous updates from the world of Formula1.
If you are an Apple user, you can subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on the iTunes Podcast Store or via our RSS feed (for Android/Windows/Blackberry users – You will need a Podcast player!). The Inside Line F1 Podcast is also available on TuneIn Radio.
The Inside Line Formula1 Podcast is produced and hosted by Rishi Kapoor and Kunal Shah. Follow us on Twitter and on our SoundcloudDailyMotionSpreakerMixCloud and YouTube channels.
PS: A BIG shout out to our friends at F1 Lobby who will be sharing our posts across their social media handles! Go follow!

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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Happy to share my passion for Formula 1 with you. If you have specific queries about the sport, feel free to ping me.

In the meanwhile, I welcome you to subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast for insightful conversations around Formula 1. We release an episode every week.