A new, global initiative to find a future Formula 1 Star World Champion has launched last week in the UK. The free-to-enter competition aims to take one talented driver all the way to the pinnacle of motorsport using social media, crowdfunding and on-track assessment.
1000 To One is the brainchild of former Williams Formula One Team employee David Fleming. “We touched on this concept in 2009 when we discovered Tio Ellinas and took him to F1 with Marussia”, explains Fleming. “As part of our talent search we ran an extra competition in partnership with Driver Database. Drivers campaigned for votes from the public and the top three got free entry to the main assessment stage. It was crazy what some of the entrants did to get attention and it regularly crashed the Driver Database website! One of the winners was Richie Stanaway who became a Renault F1 junior driver so it proves that talent and determination can rise to the top in such a process.”
1000 To One will see drivers begin by signing up to a ‘online viral waiting list’ where they must use social media to improve their ranking, with the aim of making it into the first round of selection. There, they will post “evidence” showing why the public should vote for them; with the top 1,000 being selected for the last “on-line” stage: the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Again, entrants will compete for an ever decreasing number of places – one of 500 places in the karting selection – by encouraging their networks to get behind the campaign and make a financial contribution in return for exciting access to behind-the-scenes content of the selection process and the 2017 racing season.
Provided the crowdfunding campaign is successful, the karting trials will take place around the world at local kart tracks, followed by finals held over three days in the United Kingdom in December. The top 50 finalists will then progress to the one-to-one on-track assessments with a world class driver coach. The five drivers judged to be the most likely to succeed in Formula One will test Formula 4 machinery in the UK in February. The winner will immediately begin testing for the 2017 Formula 4 British Championship with a top team.
David Fleming quotes:
“I believe this is the best way forward for a talented young driver who does not have access to the sort of budgets needed to start car racing. A driver can come to us and sign up for free. All they have to do is ask their friends, family, fans and social networks to vote for them, which won’t cost a penny. Then we will assess them and take the best as close to the top of the sport as possible. The only money involved will come from fans during the Indigo crowdfunding campaign who are interested in getting exclusive access to the behind-the-scenes excitement and drama of the selection process and our winner’s unfolding career.”
“We want to turn junior motorsport funding on its head. A lot of money is wasted on drivers who don’t deliver for various reasons. Companies often feel let down and don’t continue their involvement in motorsport, which is a shame. We want to show companies that there is a way to make sure you’re backing the most deserving drivers who will deliver results. Backing a future F1 World Champion at an early stage can give a company access to the driver and bragging rights forever without having to pay another penny! Plus, it’s a way for fans to get behind a driver who has been proven to be the best and get an exclusive insight into how their career evolves behind the scenes.”
“We did this in 2009 with “Grand Prix Shootout”. Our winner was an unknown Kart racer from Cyprus who had retired from racing and was doing his national service before joining the family business. This was Eftichios Ellinas. We instantly knew he was a star despite being up against Josef Newgarden, Gabby Chaves, Richie Stanaway, Dean Stoneman, Richard Bradley among others. Despite living in a country with just 250,000 people we made him our winner without hesitation. The first thing we did was change his name to “Tio”. Even his family spelled his name in different ways so what chance would foreign journalists have! It all worked out in the end and Tio became the first Cypriot to drive an F1 car in 2013 with Marussia.”
The competition is run by UK based Young Driver Development Limited.