Comparing F1 teams to Division I college football conferences

May 4, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen (1).
May 4, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen (1). / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

College football has long dominated Americans' football sets for the past (near) century but on Sunday mornings in the summer, a different sport has exploded into popularity.

F1 racing has become and beloved and besotted past time in the United States.

While the two sports may attract entirely different target groups on a given weekend, the fans are starting to overlap.

If a loyal F1 fan were to sit down with a diehard college football fan, could the two find common ground?

Here's a quick breakdown of how the F1 teams might align with Division I college football conferences:

Red Bull = SEC

The SEC is usually led by one or two big dogs in the conference (i.e. Georgia and Alabama dominating for the past decade and a half).

Similarly, the Red Bull racing team is led by one of the two drivers, Max Verstappen, while the other driver, Sergio Perez, does decently but hardly ever stands atop the podium.

Ferrari = Big Ten

Ferrari is made up of incredibly smart drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, who also happen to have a lot of talent and endless amounts of financial resources.

Sound familiar? 

The Big Ten is filled to the brim with academically dominant schools like Michigan and Northwestern as well as financially endowed programs like Ohio State and Penn State.

McLaren = ACC

Beyond McLaren’s orange cars being almost a perfect match to Clemson and Syracuse, the ACC has talented players who repeatedly fall short of the top.

Florida State and Clemson have recently earned a high ranking but failed to earn a berth in the College Football Playoffs. 

Drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri may end up on the podium if they really play their cards right but usually fall short of a top-three finish.

Mercedes = Big 12

A lot of money and really pretty cars, I mean, campuses. See how easy it is to be confused?

Schools like Colorado and TCU have all of the funds for a powerhouse athletic program but the players repeatedly make mistakes, knocking their teams down a peg.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Hamilton planning to abandon ship in 2025, are almost perfect synonyms for the Horned Frogs and the Buffaloes.

Aston Martin = Independents (Notre Dame)

Aston Martin has a big fan base without much reward in recent years. Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll have struggled to earn a good starting position and have repeatedly finished well back from the podium cars.

Similarly, Notre Dame struggles to earn and maintain a ranking high enough to be a top dog on the college football scene. Despite boundless resources, the Fighting Irish haven't won a national title since 1988 (or 2012 if you're counting vacated titles).

Non-Power four conferences:

  • RB = Sun Belt 
  • Haas = Mountain West
  • Alpine = American Athletic
  • Williams = Conference USA
  • Kick Sauber = Mid-American

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