Formula One is the highest class of motorsport in the motorsport industry. The motorsport industry and its culture is considered to adhere to mainly hegemonic masculine ideals. Hegemonic masculine ideals are dominant discourses on how men should act and engage in life. Formula One is accused of engaging in this culture as well and is therefore regarded as a sport that is mainly male dominated. Previous research has focused on the representation of gender in the motorsport industry and Formula One. They mainly focused on the representation and participation of women but have neglected how men are being represented in the sport. This study aims to shed light on the representation of Formula One drivers during the 2021 season by looking at the use of discourse on masculinity. Specifically, the study looks at the Formula One podcast F1 Nation. The podcast is hosted by former Formula One driver Damon Hill and Formula One reporters Tom Clarkson and Nathalie Pinkham. The study particularly looks into their post-race commentary of the Grand Prix review episodes during the 2021 season. The research question for the study is how is discourse about masculinity used to represent the 2021 Formula One drivers through the analysis of F1 Nation’s post-race commentary on Formula One races? In order to answer the research question, a qualitative content analysis was conducted. The study made use of the discourse analysis theory to analyse 22 podcast episodes upon their use of discourse on masculinity to represent the 2021 Formula One drivers. The analysis found three main categories, namely, maintaining discourse about masculinity, establishing discourse about masculinity, and challenging discourse about masculinity. The study found a high frequency of comments that made use of hegemonic masculine ideals, such as toughness and aggressiveness that led to the reconstruction and maintenance of a masculine representation of the Formula One drivers. This masculine representation is understood in this study as the Formula One drivers being seen as tough, emotionless, and competitive athletes. The drivers are represented as purely athletes in the sport, rather than being represented as athletes and humans. There were some comments found that challenged a masculine representation of the Formula One driver, however these comments were not as frequent as the comments that reconstructed and asserted hegemonic masculine ideals. The hosts also briefly discussed the lack of diversity in the representation on the grid in Formula One, but it was only discussed in one episode of the 22 episodes that were analysed. From the analysis of the podcast episodes of F1 Nation, it becomes clear that Formula One media still adhere to the masculine ideals of society to a larger degree, despite showing slow changes in its diversity on and off track.

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Afrooz Rafiee
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Jay Hartman. (2023, February 28). The representation of male drivers in Formula One A content analysis on the use of discourse on masculinity in F1 Nation’s post-race commentary. Media & Business. Retrieved from