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The CEO and founder of former F1 team British American Racing is trying to launch a new F1 team that he says will be “50% male, 50% female.”
Craig Pollard founded BAR, a team that competed in F1 from 1999 to 2005. Technically, the team still operates today as Mercedes, but not before it raced under different guises and ownership as Honda’s works team and 2009 World Champions Brawn GP.
Now, Pollard wants to get back on the grid with a new team that he calls Formula Equity, a team that would be doomed to fail should it even get to F1 in the first place.
Formula 1 and the FIA are actively looking to add a team or two to the grid with the soonest start date being the 2025 season.
They’ve reportedly received interest from quite a few potential teams including the joining bid from Andretti Autosport and Cadillac.
Now, add Pollard’s Formula Equity to the conversation.
“Our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports,” Pollock told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell.
“The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula One team, 50% male, 50% female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula One team; it’s a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.”
Putting Politics Over Winning Races Is Not A Recipe For Success
Like any progressive idea, it looks good on paper. A utopia where everyone and everything is equal. Sounds great, but that’s just not how the world works.
There are enough examples of companies putting representation over ability and having it blow up in their faces that it’s kind of unbelievable that people still want to try it
Pollard’s vision for Formula Equity includes a 50-50 split everywhere. That includes the person behind the wheel of the team’s cars. So in a sport like Formula 1 where millions and millions of dollars are at stake, you’d be willing to choose a driver based on their gender, instead of their ability?
Imagine a team passing on a top-tier driver because they’ve reached their 50% on dudes.
What’s funny about this idea is that while F1 isn’t close to a 50-50 split — tough to try to find any industry that is — there are lots of women who are incredibly talented and work as engineers, strategists, press officers, and much more.
They’re not there because the team was trying to reach a quota; they’re part of the team because their skills have gotten them there.
Would F1 And The FIA Even Go For This?
Formula 1 and the FIA are picky about who they add to the grid. They want teams that will bring something to F1 and offer the stability to stay in the sport for years.
Outside of woke street cred, what does this bring to F1 and the FIA? I can’t think of anything. Plus, the FIA has clamped down on drivers making political statements. Do you really think they’ll want a team that has a goal of pushing a political agenda instead of winning races?
If winning isn’t a priority, then they will likely languish away at the back of the field and not be able to keep the lights on after a few seasons.
It’s also not like there aren’t numerous organizations doing work to give women opportunities in motorsports. Formula 1’s F1 Academy is an all-female series that serves as a support series on some race weekends this season. It is taking the place of the former all-female series, Formula W. That series produced some really entertaining racing.
FIA also has the Women in Motorsport commission, which “demonstrates that women are recognized by the highest body responsible for motor sport.” This is to say that there are organizations in place working to fulfill the same goal Pollard wants to achieve with Formula Equity.
Again, where is the value this team would bring?
Pollard told CNN that he had submitted an application and that he set up financial backing from “a Gulf area country.” He wouldn’t say which one it was. Still, it didn’t stop CNN from speculating that it was Saudi Arabia.
Y’know, that bastion of human rights and equality.
What an ironic twist that would be if true.
It remains to be seen if the team will join the grid, however, it’s hard to imagine F1 would bring aboard a team that only offers progressive cache when the value of that is already on the decline.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle