Alcohol brands and Formula 1 championship go hand in hand for a long time now. Be it the sponsorships for the cars or be it the Champagne popped out after the win, there is no way an F1 viewer won't see and get influenced by all the glamour of sports and the contribution of Alcohol brands to it. And this is where all the problem starts! According to a European lobby group, alcohol sponsorship is influencing drunk driving.
The European Alcohol Policy Alliance has called for the end of alcohol sponsorship in Formula One, issuing an open letter to FIA president Jean Todt. A report attached to the letter states that drunk driving accounted for 6,500 deaths (or 25 percent of road deaths) across Europe in 2010. The group known has Eurocare has drawn a correlation between drunk driving and alcohol sponsorship in motor racing.
If or not the FIA will consider the plea, is a long shot, but who all will get affected by it, if something of this sort happens? Well to start with, the biggest problem will have to be faced by none other than, Force India, which is currently owned by Sahara and Kingfisher group. It is evident that Kingfisher is the largest liquor manufacturer of India. Also, Smirnoff sponsors the team and branding of Vladvair, Royal Challenge and Whyte and Mackay can be easily seen. Also, Williams team is sponsored by Martini and McLaren by Johnnie Walker, which was also recently named the official whisky of the sport.
Interestingly enough, Formula 1 hosts certain races in countries where Sharia law is applicable, under which alcohol consumption is banned. Now, most of the teams, out of respect (if not compliance with) remove any liquor logos while racing in such counties. Also Champagne, which is traditionally sprayed and drank on the podium, to celebrate the victory, is replaced with a non-alcoholic substitute like rosewater.
Banning Alcohol brands from sponsorships will cause much of a trouble, for an already financially unstable championship. Many teams have declared bankruptcy in the last few weeks and many are struggling to hold on to profits. But if Eurocare is to be believed, banning alcohol will not hamper the championship and the F1 will recover soon, as they did after the ban of Tobacco. It was a huge contributor of the funds, to the teams like Ferrari (Marlboro), McLaren (West), Lotus (JPS) and Honda (British American Tobacco).
A recent such controversy similarly called for the end of sponsorship by the energy drink brands like the Red Bull and Monster Energy, which support countless racing teams across numerous racing disciplines.
We certainly think that this move is a right move considering the efforts some are making to stop drinking and drive, but we also hope that a sport like F1 won't get affected by it in the long run.