Tottenham Hotspur and F1 partnership aims to address long-standing issues in the sport
Tottenham Hotspur has announced a new 15-year partnership with Formula 1 with the aim of building a karting track underneath their stadium that is due to open in Autumn 2023. This will further the stadium’s reach.
Aside from its regular football fixtures, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has already hosted sports such as rugby, the NFL and boxing, as well as other events such as concerts. As a result of the F1 partnership, Tottenham estimates that the number of people interested in events at their stadium is at around 80% of the world’s population. The new track experience will incorporate tracks for adults and juniors and has been accredited by the National Karting Association, further increasing their scope as it means the facilities can be used for future karting championship races.
Most importantly, the new facilities will also aim to create new career and apprenticeship opportunities for young people, including educational activities to engage in and demonstrate potential career paths in motorsport, as well as a driver academy programme to find the next generation of F1 drivers.
Given the limited representation of women, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups, the project offers great scope for greater representation not just in F1, but in motorsport as a whole. In addition, the driver academy programme will hopefully increase representation across the grid in the future, as currently F1 drivers often come from affluent backgrounds due to the immense costs associated with a driver’s journey from karting all the way to Formula 1 and are predominantly of white ethnic origin.
These are issues which seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton aims to address through his numerous campaigns, such as his Mission 44 initiative that aims to “build a more inclusive education system, build career paths in STEM and creative sectors, and support young people to be positive social changemakers.”
The location of Tottenham’s Stadium is surrounded by, according to their official statement, one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in London. The F1 partnership will hopefully provide change and allow and inspire young people who might not have thought they could enter the motorsport industry due to factors outside of their control.
The partnership also aims to dedicate itself to environmental initiatives. Formula 1, has often been criticised as harmful to the environment. They have even been subjected to Just Stop Oil protests at last year’s British Grand Prix. However, the partnership between F1 and the stadium aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.
This partnership, if successful, is hopefully a sign of future initiatives across the country. Formula 1 and motorsport have notably been inaccessible for disadvantaged communities, with access often given to a select few, especially in the driving sense. With initiatives aiming to rectify this beginning to appear in the capital, it is hopefully a sign of things to come across the country, although it would likely hinge on the Tottenham partnership being successful enough.
Branching outside of London eventually would also create opportunities in areas where F1 drivers do not typically come from (currently all British drivers are from the South of England), ensuring that opportunities to race in the pinnacle of motorsport are open to all children across the country. This is not a possibility completely out of the question either, as there are expansion plans for football stadiums outside of London beginning to take place, namely the expansion of Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to increase its capacity and add various other fan experiences, such as a museum and fan zone. It will hopefully ensure that Formula 1’s longevity is extended for years to come, as concerns have often raised the question as to whether it will be sustainable in the future due to the urgency of the climate crisis.