Karting On Credit: Half Of Motorsports Parents Prepared To Incur A $35k Debt To Help Their Child’s Career, Reveals Survey

Formula 1 is one of the most popular sports in the world, attracting even more viewership since the release of “Drive to Survive” – a Netflix series which features behind-the-scenes footage of the racing world. Since the show premiered in 2019, ESPN’s audience for F1 race coverage has almost doubled to 1.5 million views per race and according to a recent study, the motorsport is well on its way to topping a billion fans globally this year, with more than three-quarters of new fans under the age of 35.

As more young people aspire to begin exploring the world of motorsports, there’s no denying that the cost of karting (as compared to sports like football or baseball, for example) doesn’t come cheap for parents. A survey found some parents were spending over $115,500 on just one season of national-level junior karting for 10- and 11-year-old children. There have been calls among leaders in the sport to make it more accessible, adding that for working-class families, it’s often a completely unaffordable activity.

F1FAll.com, an official provider of F1 news and resources, surveyed 1,200 parents of children who do motorsports on the finances involved in these activities. It was found that over half (58%) of parents say the high cost of karting severely stretches their finances. And 48% said the cost of kart racing in general dissuades them from encouraging their children to partake in the sport.

An overwhelming 65% said they don’t consider motor racing an inclusive sport, based on the exorbitant costs involved. However, when it comes down to it, more than half (58%) of parents said they would consider putting themselves into debt if their child was serious about a motor racing career. And of those who would be prepared to do this, the average parent said they would incur a debt of $35,185 if it allowed their child to continue racing.

When asked in which sport they think their child would be most likely to succeed and become a world champion, 24% of parents said it would be motor racing, while 19% said football. 17% said they would want their child to be a soccer world champion; 17% said golf and 9% said boxing or MMA. Another 7% said basketball and lastly, 7% said ice hockey.

Finally, 35% of parents said the high cost of motor racing would be the main reason they would dissuade their child from exploring the sport. However, 65% said the danger involved in motorsports would be the main reason they wouldn’t encourage it.

Infographic showing survey results

‘There’s no denying that while F1 continues to increase in popularity among viewers, it may be placing a serious strain on parents’ finances if they decide to fund their children to start the sport,’ said a spokesperson for F1FAll.com. ‘It’s an unfortunate reality that the sport is considered an exclusive one, however, there are moves towards addressing this within the racing industry, including team members speaking out about these inequalities.’

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