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I’m not here to talk politics and even though the country is heading for a vote in November,I’m still focused on the facts at hand…I’ve got to help Formula One become more popular in America. There is a strange merger however as one of the political footballs that has been discussed is the notion of the “Obamaphone” as part of the Lifeline program for low-income families. The program was supposed to provide a paid mobile phone for low-income families to help them cope with the challenge of getting back on their feet and provide security. In short, it is a government-paid mobile phone for poor folks in need.  Doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the program, we’re not here to talk politics.

What we are here to talk about is Formula 1 and here’s the idea. The phones used in the Lifeline program are supplied by Tracphone which Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has a majority stake in. For each phone provided by the program, Carlos gets $10. Carlos is also a sponsor of Sauber F1 and here’s the pitch, Carlos should put the Sauber logo on each phone with a bespoke Sauber/F1 app already installed and then hand them out to Americans.

Imagine all the folks out there using their Sauber/Obamaphone and getting real F1 branding in the process. They could have a few pictures of their drivers and a story about F1 etc.  You could big up the USGP in November and the New Jersey race in 2013 and really drive home the awesome nature of F1. Sounds like a perfect idea to me…except for one thing. The cost.

If these phones are intended for low-income folks who can’t afford mobile phones, then the likelihood of them affording an F1 race in Austin is not too good. Therefore, I say Carlos could take the $10 he makes off each phone and pool it in an F1 fund. Not every phone owner will go to a race so he would have amassed enough cash to afford to pay for those Sauber phone owners that do want to go, the ability to attend. I know, I’m just being a stooge here and having a little fun in the process but surely the likelihood of getting Carlos to foot the bill for a couple hundred folks to attend a race is more realistic than Mr. E lowering the cost of a race sanctioning fee or a circuit to lower the cost of a weekend ticket right? Carlos is a billionaire and he wouldn’t miss the cash would he? He’s worth $69B after all and some accuse him of making profit off the plight of those less fortunate.

Formula One appeals to all income levels and since Carlos is steeped in sponsoring a team and sinking cash into a driver development program, why not just get a return on his investment by promoting his team in the States? Imagine the “viral” video of the women and her “Obamaphone” saying that she wanted to vote for Checo because he gave her a phone and she loves how Sauber is soft on tires and goes really deep in the first stint…surely less of a political firebrand right?  Heck, at this point, I’d vote for Checo, he’s terrific! He has hair cooler than Mitt Romney, looks cooler in an Obama-style Poster and teeth as white as Joe Biden too!

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Nathhulal

    Good idea but may belong to the “Too little too late” category. Given that Romney is scrutinizing the “Big bird” funding that goes to feed it, I wonder how long until Checo-Phone gets chopped.

    When he said “the big bird”, I hope he was not indirectly taking a shot at the glorious Thanksgiving tradition.

  • fpat

    After reading this I can only surmise that you woke up from an ambien fueled dream and scrawled down your first thoughts. You have got to be kidding, right? Formula One appeals to all income levels? You seriously believe the mobile-phones-for-the-indigent demographic is even remotely cognizant of F1? And, Carlos Slim will be happy to take your advice on using that cash “he wouldn’t miss”.