Liberty Media has the opportunity to open up F1 sponsorship to female-centric brands

Liberty Media, the US-based media group, is very close to finalising the multibillion-dollar purchase of the Formula 1 motor-racing series.

Liberty Media's acquisition of F1 is an opportunity to open up the sport to female-centric brands, argues Aliya Vigor-Robertson
Liberty Media's acquisition of F1 is an opportunity to open up the sport to female-centric brands, argues Aliya Vigor-Robertson

Although motor racing is undoubtedly a successful sport, it also happens to be one of the world’s most outdated institutions in terms of representing gender equality. 

As the face of Formula 1, its chief executive Bernie Ecclestone famously announced that women shouldn’t be taken seriously in the sport because of the limits of their physical abilities. But with Liberty now in the picture, could this attitude be about to change?

With the telecoms and media corporation close to controlling the sport’s reputation and future image, what steps will it take to improve its current gender bias image, if any at all?

There are currently no rules preventing women sitting in the first two seats of any F1 team, yet a female driver has not started a Grand Prix since 1976.

It’s obviously disappointing to see that Formula 1 is missing this opportunity to feature some incredible female role models for aspiring drivers, but that’s only half the story.

Commercially, this lack of gender diversity has also shut the door on lucrative sponsorship deals with female-targeted brands, and created an image of the sport as an unattractive place for ambitious women who want to make it to the top of their profession.

It would not be difficult for a massive media company like Liberty to revitalise Formula 1 and reverse this outdated image.

After all, the media world is full of ambitious women who have been able to reach the top, run agencies, make editor and produce film or TV features that win awards.

Liberty has the power, influence and resources to create these same opportunities within Formula 1.

As such, the company now has a golden opportunity to directly influence an entire sport, not only to create a space that is crying out for female-focused brand advertising, but also one that encourages young women to consider a career in what has always been a male-dominated area.

With Liberty at the helm, Formula 1 could create high-profile female role models that other industries will envy and sponsors will love, while sending a clear message that women are just as capable as men. 

Aliya Vigor-Robertson is co-founder of JourneyHR

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