Yes, World Cup fever has struck and even I have fallen once again, for the charm and excitement which the greatest football show on earth brings once every four years. The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just hours away as I write this and so what better time is there to consider this particular question. If F1 teams were National Football teams, which would each team be. I have racked my brain and paired each F1 outfit with a World Cup Finals counterpart, just for your amusement. So, here comes my list:
Red Bull – Spain
Red Bull Racing would surly be Spain. The Milton Keynes based team have risen from the shadows to take Formula One by storm over the past few years, and their claiming of four consecutive Drivers and Constructors World titles is not dissimilar to Spain’s achievements. The Spaniard’s have won three major tournaments in a row and while they are not favourites for this year, neither are Red Bull. However, both are still very much a force to be reckoned with.
Mercedes – Brazil
Perhaps the easiest decision of all, Mercedes would have to be the equivalent of Brazil. Mercedes are overwhelming favourites to take both Drivers and Constructors honours this year and Brazil are currently the favourites to win the World Cup. However, odds aside, both outfits have an illustrious history in their respective sports. Mercedes are a famous global brand, while Brazil play a well-known brand of Football.
Ferrari – Uruguay
The Scuderia may be rooting for Italy this summer, (it would be pretty shocking if otherwise), but as a team, they share similar traits with Uruguay. The South American team have enjoyed former glories, winning the World Cup in 1930 and 1950. Do I even need to articulate Ferrari’s former glories? However, both have slipped under the radar of late, not performing in the manner which proved successful in yesteryear. In addition, both have a clear figurehead in Fernando Alonso and Luis Suarez. I’m beginning to think that Ferrari and Uruguay are the most convincing combination!
Lotus – England
Yes, Lotus are paired with England and as a proud Englishman, I apologise to team Enstone. Joking aside, England have become the perennial underdogs of late, and while this has largely been a result of many failures on the global stage, both England and Lotus have the potential to perform. Both may have slipped down the pecking order of late, but you can never count them out of neither the points, nor emerging from the group stages with flying colours.
McLaren – Argentina
Perhaps the most debatable pairing of all is McLaren and Argentina. Similar traits include the fact that both teams have found success on the world stage very difficult to come by of late, despite being laden with resources. McLaren have perhaps the most technologically advanced headquarters in Formula One, while Argentina have so many world class attacking options, you need both hands to count them all.
Force India – Ghana
This is another simple one. Ghana are often the unknown quantity heading into a World Cup, but they always seem to deliver. Who could forget their heroics against Uruguay in the Quarter-Finals just four years ago. They may have the most modest resources, but like Force India, they know just how to challenge the established names and are frequently punching well above their weight.
Sauber – France
In both Sauber and France, you never really know what you are going to get. The two outfits have had years in recent history where they have challenged and successfully beaten the usual suspects, (France’s World Cup triumph in 1998, or Sauber’s four podium finishes in 2012), but these are too few and far between. While Sauber have struggled to come to terms with the new regulations this season, France’s 2010 World Cup campaign was marred by internal quarrels which ultimately led to their elimination at the group stage.
Toro Rosso – Mexico
Toro Rosso are perhaps most like Mexico, although there are undoubtedly several candidates who share similar traits with the Italian team. Firstly, both Toro Rosso and Mexico are often in the shadow of their rivals and close associates, Red Bull and Brazil respectively. However, relations are amicable. Meanwhile, both teams have a certain ‘flair-factor’. Mexico play a similar style of Football to Brazil, while Toro Rosso are the breeding ground for young talent in the Red Bull Driver Programme and the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have been sublime talents in the team.
Williams – Italy
Both Williams and Italy are stooped in history. However, neither team has been consistently performing at the highest level over recent years. While Italy’s last major success came with their World Cup victory in 2006 and Williams’ last title challenging campaign came in 2003, (with Juan Pablo Montoya), both teams are looking for a return to former glory. Judging by the age of the Italy team, it is time to rebuild; (this is undoubtedly a notion confirmed by Andrea Pirlo’s announcement of imminent international retirement which came out yesterday.) For Williams, the rebuild has already begun.
Marussia – Japan
Marussia are perhaps most associated with Japan. Both teams have a number of key personnel which have been critical to their success over the years, with Jules Bianchi, John Booth and Dave Greenwood being comparable to Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda. Both outfits are efficient and effective, but most importantly reliable. Japan are everpresent at major tournaments and Marussia are everpresent at the chequered flag.
Caterham – Belgium
Well, last but not least is Caterham, who perhaps share similar traits with Belgium. Both teams have great resources, with Belgium having a number of top Premier League names such as Vincent Kompany, Edin Hazard and Romelu Lukaku; Caterham have the experience of Kamui Kobayashi. However, it is questionable whether the Belgian side will gel as a team, with a similar scepticism clouding Caterham’s plans to design the car by committee following Mark Smith’s departure.
So, 11 Formula One teams paired with 11 World Cup counterparts. Football haters, never fear; this is very much a ‘one off’ article. Football fans; I want to hear your opinions on which teams partner which World Cup Finalists.
Happy World Cup everyone!