The last time motorsport and football were mixed together was in 2008, where the inaugural season Super League Series featured cars run by various European football teams. The series featured identical open wheeled Formula Cars that were powered by V12 engines that produced a Formula One rivaling 750 bhp. The series however folded after 2011 season due to a variety of reasons.
Reading up on the series, I began to wonder if Football and Formula One are similar in any way. On the commercial side the relationship between the Chelsea Football Club and the Suaber F1 team is the most prominent example of football mixing with Formula One. However looking beyond the commercial sphere, if one was to take a closer look, you could see a few there are a few other similarities between certain Formula One teams and Premiere League clubs. The following of which are four such examples..
Ferrari and Manchester United:
Besides the fact that both teams feature red prominently, there are a few other coincidences that relate these two teams. Both possess two of the world’s most recognizable brand names, both teams have had a tremendous amount of success over long durations of time and both teams may in many ways provide a bases for attracting newer fans to each sport. The similarities don’t end there, both teams to some level (and it pains me to say this being a United fan) get some level of preferential treatment from their respective leagues. In the case of United it is the refereeing decisions (especially this season) going their way, while Ferrari do tend to rake in a greater amount of revenue from the Concorde agreement due to their synonymous brand name. Another interesting point worth noting would be the fact that both teams have ex and current team members who hold high ranking positions in their respective governing bodies. In the case of Ferrari it is the obvious example of Jean Todt, while United’s current chief executive, David Gill is the current vice chairman of the Football Association.
Williams and Liverpool:
Both teams were almost untouchable during their era of dominance. For Liverpool it was the 80’s, while Williams were unstoppable in the 90’s. Both teams have a rich heritage and very specific culture associated to them. However these both teams have also been in the doldrums for far too long in the modern era. Liverpool last won a league title in 89-90 season, while Williams’ last constructors title came in the year 1997. The performances of both teams have also over the years been steadily declining. Williams have finished 8th the past two seasons, while Liverpool have been languishing in mid-table for the past few years. Given their history, both teams have underwhelmed for far too long.
Mclaren and Arsenal:
The Arsenal team of the 2003-04 season went the whole season unbeaten. The McLaren MP4-4 won 15 out of 16 races. Furthermore these two teams have been defined by two of sports most charismatic leaders. In McLaren’s case it is Ron Dennis while for Arsenal it is Arsene Wenger. In recent times, though these teams have been somewhat at the front of the table, they have still lacked that extra bit to finish at the top of the pile. Arsenal last won the league the same year they went unbeaten while McLaren last won the constructors title in 1998 (though Lewis Hamilton did win the driver’s the title for them in 2008). Another parallel one may draw from these two teams is the fact that they have chronically failed to keep hold of their drivers/players. For Arsenal the departures of Henry, Veira, Fabregas and Van Persie during their primes weakened the team to a great extent while McLaren have similarly been forced to watch Prost, Senna, Raikkonen, Alonso and more recently Hamilton leave for a rival team.
Mercedes and Manchester City:
Mercedes as a constructor have not had a great time in Formula One. The team left sport before the constructor’s championship was instated during their first stint, while they have generally underwhelmed in their second stint. The similarities between the two teams are highlighted by the fact that both teams are buying their way to success to a huge extent. While in Motorsport the link between a large budget and success has been standard, the fact that Mercedes seem to be signing up various technical experts from other teams is somewhat similar to Manchester City’s mercenary approach to football. The Mercedes team over the past two years has signed Aldo Costa from Ferrari, Bob Bell who is an ex Renault (now Lotus) man, Geoff Willis who is an ex Williams man and are even rumored to be interested in signing Mclaren’s Paddy Lowe. All this is on top of them making Lewis Hamilton F1’s highest earning driver.
To conclude though opinions on this matter may differ, it is interesting to see a few similarities between teams from different sports.