Formula One is one of the most popular sports in the world – and also one of the most expensive. It costs a fortune to build and develop a racing car, and teams can also earn millions from the new technology they develop and from the sponsorship deals they sign.
With all this money at stake, there are strict rules for all the employees at Formula One teams regarding their conduct – which team bosses take very seriously. Everyone from the lowliest mechanic to the star drivers themselves have to obey team rules, which they often refer to as their ethics policy.
Check out the list below of rules everyone who works for a Formula One team has to obey if they want to keep their jobs.
20 Don't Put Yourself In Danger
Health and safety are vital when you work for a Formula One team. Not only are the garages full of hi-tech equipment, but anyone who has to spend time near the track is potentially putting themselves in the path of a speeding car.
Ferrari was censured when one of their mechanics suffered a broken leg during a botched pit stop.
19 Don't Enter Areas That Are Off-Limits
Part of the important rules on health and safety at Formula One events insist that team employees are not allowed to enter any off-limits areas.
Only mechanics are allowed in the garages during the race, although exceptions are made for the drivers’ families also, and FIA themselves take security at their events very seriously too.
18 Sharing Technical Secrets With Another Team
Formula One teams invest millions of dollars in their racing cars and the new technology which can give them even the smallest advantage over their rivals.
Any employee involved in the development of cars would be severely punished if they were found to be leaking any technical secrets to another Formula One team.
17 No Discrimination
The Formula One world is not so different from many workplaces when it comes to how people are expected to behave. All staff have to ensure that there is no discrimination within the team and that there is no racism, sexism or any other “isms" when it comes to the way employees are hired, promoted or fired.
16 No Insider Trading
A number of parent companies that own Formula One racing teams are listed on various stock exchanges around the world, which means their employees also have to follow the rules on insider trading. This forbids staff from passing on any sensitive information which might help investors to predict what will happen to their shares.
15 Only Authorized Staff Can Speak To The Press
Most of the time, the reporters who follow the Formula One caravan around the world are only interested in speaking to the drivers, who have a contractual obligation to speak to the press if they finish in the top three. Occasionally they may want to speak to a team member, but there are only certain employees who are allowed to speak to the media.
14 Accepting Bribes
Each team has strict rules which forbid any of their workers from accepting bribes. These bribes could take the form of cash, but even gifts or expensive meals are covered by the guidelines developed by Formula One teams if they are only offered on the understanding that the recipient will give something in return.
13 Or, Offering Bribes
In the same spirit, anyone working for a Formula One team is also forbidden from offering a bribe in a bid to try and gain some sort of competitive advantage.
While team bosses may wine and dine possible investors, even they aren’t allowed to try and induce people to provide illicit support for their drivers.
12 Mind Your Manners On Social Media
Everyone working for a Formula One team, from the drivers down, have to be careful to mind their Ps and Qs on social media.
These days, even seemingly innocuous comments can cause offense and even damage the reputation of a driver and the team they race for. Even Lewis Hamilton found that out the hard way when posted a video criticizing his nephew of wearing a dress.
11 Don't Do Anything To Harm The Reputation Of The Team
Many of these rules, if broken, would do a great deal of damage to the reputation of a Formula One team – and reputation is everything when it comes to attracting sponsorship. Plus, it’s important they make back some of the millions of dollars they invest into the cars.
High-profile cases of bad behavior by team staff can end up discrediting their employees.
10 Must Obey Local Laws Around The World
Grand Prix races take place all around the globe, in countries as diverse as the USA and Bahrain. Wherever team employees travel, they are expected to abide by local laws and can expect little help from their employers if they are arrested for doing something illegal – which includes something as simple as drinking in public while in Bahrain.
9 Have To Wear Team Logo
Formula One teams make a lot of money from their sponsorship deals, both on the cars themselves and the jumpsuits which the drivers and behind-the-scenes team wear on race days.
Everyone has to wear the proper outfits, not just to make sure they earn their sponsorship money, but also for safety reasons.
8 Try To Be As Green As Possible
Formula One isn’t exactly noted for its environmentally friendly policies. Aside from the pollution that comes from the gas-guzzling cars themselves, the teams rack up hundreds of thousands of air miles every year traveling between races.
However, teams are starting to take green issues more seriously, and have rules for their staff on improving sustainability.
7 No Bullying
Similarly, all the teams have strict rules about bullying in the workplace and have a zero-tolerance policy towards any intimidating behavior. The sport may traditionally have been a male-dominated environment, but increasing numbers of women are becoming involved in the sport, and the current political climate frowns on harassment of any kind.
6 Work For Any Other Company
It goes without saying that any Formula One employee is not allowed to work for another car manufacturer, but even when a member of the team quits to work for a rival, they have to sign documents which say they will not reveal secrets to their new employer and may not be allowed to take up their new position for several months.
5 Maintain Professionalism
Most teams actually employ staff whose job is to lobby politicians on behalf of the sport. These employees have to be above reproach and obey any laws on lobbying which exist in the country they are working in. Any breach of the rules would be very embarrassing for the team and for the sport.
4 Report Any Colleagues Breaking The Rules
Perhaps just as important as obeying all the rules, which Formula One teams impose on their team staff, is that employees are also obligated to report if any colleagues are breaking the rules. It might seem like tattling to spill the beans on a workmate, but keeping your mouth shut is also a sackable offense.
3 Report Conflicts Of Interest
Staff are also obligated to report if there are any potential conflicts of interest in their private lives, which might affect their work for the team.
For example, if someone starts dating an employee of a rival team, then they have to report that to their manager, who will then make a decision about whether they may need to be moved to a new role.
2 Breaching Confidentiality
Confidentiality rules for Formula One staff don’t just apply to technical secrets. After all, there is more to winning a Grand Prix than just the car. The racing crew is also forbidden from discussing race strategies, which includes anything from how many pit stops they are planning to make to whether there are any team orders for the race.
1 Keep Politics Out Of The Workplace
Formula One bosses may like to hobnob with political leaders, but there are very different rules for team employees.
While no-one is forbidden from engaging in political activities in their private lives, there are rules about what public political statements they can make, in case it affects the image of the team.
Sources: FIA, Prestige Online, Ferrari, GP Fans, Formula 1