F1 fans on Twitter have slammed popular magazine BusinessF1 for their controversial marketing of the W-series that uses 'sexualized' images of female drivers.
The January 2023 edition of the magazine argues that the all-female racing series could market itself better if promoters went with more risque pictures of the drivers.
The latest edition of the popular magazine asks why the W-series hasn't been marketed like tennis has been, supposedly using attractive images of its female participants. A paragraph in the magazine says:
"Sex sells because it attracts attention. People are hardwired to notice sexually relevant information, so adverts with sexual content get noticed."
While sexually explicit content might sell more, the objectification of female athletes is morally reprehensible. The W-series doesn't rely on objectification to get its views and instead uses the immense skills these drivers possess to its advantage.
However, the greatest issue with the magazine's take on the W-series, perhaps, is the fact that some of the drivers in the series are still underage. Sexualizing these athletes would not only be immoral but also illegal.
Shifting to a marketing system similar to that of tennis would be bad for the sport's image in the long run, as was confirmed by some fans on Twitter. It will be interesting to see if personalities such as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton comment on the issue. The seven-time world champion has shown his support for the racing series in the past.
Twitter didn't take kindly to BusinessF1's controversial suggestion for a marketing strategy for the W-series. Most users believed such a strategy was bad for the sport's image and would only make people take the racing series less seriously.
Prominent businessman Vincenzo Landino lashed out at the controversial segment of the magazine, saying:
"As someone that writes about the business of F1, this trash has nothing to do with business of F1. Who actually spent money to print this garbage? And why are they talking about teenage girls like this?
One fan on Twitter called the take 'horrendous', claiming that they expected nothing less from a magazine that is merely interested in the business side of the sport.
"Horrendous take... Would expect nothing less from a business centric viewpoint of the sport. A picture of Coco Gauff "using her sex appeal" - She is literally wearing her tennis clothes? But I'm sure the writer enjoyed looking for pictures he could use..."
Another fan pointed out the sheer absurdity of the magazine's take. This fan claims that the sex appeal of the drivers is the last thing most people think of when a new racing series emerges.
"When a new racing series pops up, the last thing I'm thinking about is the sex appeal of the drivers...regardless of whether they're men or women...wtf."
While the author of the article is still unknown, it is clear that they will not be respected in the world of motorsport. It is also a sign of rare unity in the F1 community when fans of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton unite for a good cause.
It remains to be seen how the W-series will approach its marketing in times to come.