Formula 1 Team Races Against Hunger

Published on 18 June 2009

Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli is a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger.

(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

LONDON – Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula 1 drivers will team up with the world’s largest humanitarian agency to fight world hunger on Sunday (June 21) at the British Grand Prix.

Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock are driving cars sporting the logo of the United Nations World Food Programme’s “Fill the Cup” campaign for the duration of the 2009 racing season.  The aim is to raise awareness among Formula 1’s millions of fans worldwide that 66 million primary school-aged children around the world go to school hungry.

"Reaching motorsport fans"

“This is a great opportunity to reach all motorsport fans, from the thousands who attend each Grand Prix to the many millions who watch the racing on TV,” said F1 driver Jarno Trulli.  “It only costs 15 pence to give a hungry child a cup with porridge. We need as many people as possible to know they can contribute to find a solution to hunger.”

This is the last time the Santander British Grand Prix will be held at Silverstone, and top British drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will be facing off too, ensuring maximum interest.

“Formula 1 provides a unique opportunity for the fight against global hunger to gain traction,” said Nancy Roman, WFP’s Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships, adding that viewers will be encouraged to feed a hungry child. “Both resources and mass awareness are critical.”

Fill the Cup logo

The partnership between WFP and the Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 team is an unusual arrangement in that WFP’s Fill the Cup campaign logo, which appears on the TF109 racing  cars, has been paid for by Saudi-based sponsor Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ). Previously, ALJ -- the largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles in the world -- displayed its own advertising on the team’s cars.

Roman said that it was thought this was the first time that a charitable organisation had appeared with a campaign logo on a Formula 1 car for the entire duration of a season.

The fight to end hunger has become more urgent in the wake of the financial crisis, which follows on the heels of last year’s food and fuel price increases. Recent studies have shown that many families are already missing meals and cooking cheaper, less nutritious food. At the same time, WFP is concerned that the economic downturn may lead governments to cut aid budgets for feeding programmes.

20 million children

Fill the Cup aims to raise money for WFP’s school feeding programme, which provides daily meals to more than 20 million children in schools in 68 countries.

Earlier this year, WFP teamed up with the UK School Food Trust to launch The Really Good School Dinner campaign, raising over GBP 11,000 for WFP School Feeding Programmes. More than 550 schools participated, by pledging to empty their plate to fill the plate of a child in the developing world.