How F1 Influences Car Purchases: A Case Study


Our third child (codenamed B3) is due to arrive any day now.

My wife and I bought our first car, a Hyundai Elantra, just before our daughter, Ava, was born back in 2009. Things got a bit squishy when Michael arrived, but we didn’t really feel the need for a bigger vehicle yet—although there was a camping trip last year where the kids had to hold their sleeping bags and pillows on their laps for the drive to the campground.

With No. 3 on the way, though, we definitely needed something larger.

I didn’t want a minivan…not because I hate minivans, per se, but because of how many bad experiences I had witnessed with Dodge Caravans, specifically (one of the most affordable models). So I started checking out larger SUVs—sorry, crossovers.

But after test-driving a GMC Acadia, we realized it had way more features than we needed (and was consequently priced at more than we wanted to spend). Our list of desired features was: functioning engine, six or seven seats, preferably with keys and steering wheel included. In other words, we aren’t too picky.

Most of the people who are reading this are probably related to me, so you probably also know that I have a job as an F1 columnist for Bleacher Report. Coincidentally, at the same time we were researching cars, I was also doing some research for a profile on four-time world drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel.

In the course of that research, I came across this Daily Mail article, where Vettel talks about how much he loves the used VW van he bought. That got me thinking: If some used van is good enough for four-time world drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel, it’s probably good enough for me.

So I reset my Auto Trader search parameters and—BAM!—a few weeks later, we were the proud owners of a 2005 Toyota Sienna.


And I am now living proof the F1 does influence car-buying decisions…just not in the way manufacturers like Mercedes, Honda and Ferrari are hoping.

(Oh, and the kids love it, too. Mike, during his first ride: “I feel tall, safe and brave.”)

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