Global green issues set to rock the high octane world; IN ASSOCIATION WITH Rensburg Sheppards.Byline: Matt Johnson
NOWHERE are the lines between sport and business more blurred than in Formula 1 Grand Prix motor racing Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as far back as 1894. It quickly evolved from a simple road race from one town to the next, to endurance tests for car and driver. .
You are as likely to keep a finger on the pulse of this high octane oc·tane
1. Any of various isomeric paraffin hydrocarbons with the formula C8H18, found in petroleum and used as a fuel and solvent.
2. An octane number. world by studying the pages of the FT as you are by browsing the sports sections of the red tops In the United Kingdom, the so-called Red Tops are a group of newspapers who have a red front page banner, and who share an emphasis on entertainment news, sports and political scandals. , such is the involvement of many of the world's biggest multi-national companies.
With an average global TV audience of 150m plus for each round of the world championship - a figure topped only by the once-in-four years World Cup and Olympic spectacles - it's easy to see the appeal of the cars and stars to major advertisers seeking to promote their brands globally.
Viewers have become used to their Fl cars being high-speed billboards. Long gone are the days when British racing cars were plain green; Italian teams raced in red, the French in blue and the Germans in silver.
And this week's dramatic announcement that one of the biggest teams in the business is scrapping the sponsors' billboard approach to painting its cars could mean bigger changes.
The Honda Racing Fl Team cars competing in this year's Championship will simply feature a huge image of earth instead of conventional advertising and sponsor logos.
The Japanese manufacturer wants to raise environmental issues facing the planet, and says the car's new look will be a powerful call to action.
Consider the implications of this. The Fl circus flies more than 1,000 people to destinations all over the world, and while many share their aircraft, the highly paid stars and team owners are more likely to be in their private jets. Quite a carbon footprint A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service. there. And that's before they get round to the business of hurtling round the world's racetracks in cars which deliver blistering performance in return for eye-watering fuel consumption figures. In short, there's no business quite like Grand Prix Grand Prix
n. pl. Grand Prix
Any of several competitive international road races for sports cars of specific engine size over an exacting, usually risky course. business for generating carbon emissions, especially if you consider the longer term game of the manufactures like Honda, Mercedes and Renault who each pour millions into the Fl budgets, is to sell more road cars.
So, is Honda's new approach a genuine attempt to turn this wacky races Wacky Races is an animated television series from Hanna-Barbera, about a group of 11 different cars racing against each other in various road rallies, with each driver hoping to win the title of the "World's Wackiest Racer. world on its head? Or a cynical marketing ploy? Time will tell. But to judge by the tone of the messages coming out of the car's launch, they are hellbent on raising these issues and their profile.
By logging on at www.myearthdream.com anyone who wishes, will have the opportunity to have their name on the car, make a pledge to make a lifestyle change to improve the environment and make a donation to an environmental charity. Under Honda's new concept of "our car is your car" each name pledged would form a tiny individual pixel that will build the image of the planet on the car. Each name will also be visible on the website and under a microscope on the car.
The first race of the season may still be three weeks away But a breathtaking marketing strategy has given us the first winner of Grand Prix 2007. Watch those cars make the earth move.
MATT JOHNSON is chairman of Mando Group
Gone are the days when British racing cars were green