University of Warwick: Williams Racing and Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick announce project partnership

Experts in elite sports communication from the University of Warwick will be working with one of the UK’s top motor racing teams to look at language use in a Formula 1™ team during live racing events.

The Sports Culture and Communication Research Collective within the Department of Applied Linguistics and the Williams Racing F1 team will apply a linguistic lens to communication in the high-pressure context of Grand Prix racing.

One of the primary goals of the project, which is supported by the ESRC, is to learn more about how multi-party decision-making works between engineers, mechanics, team management and drivers in what is a particularly high-pressure communication context.

Dr Kieran File explains: “Our goal is to look at and understand how engineers, mechanics, team management and drivers all communicate with one another as they make decisions during the high-pressure situation of qualifying and racing events.

“We see this project providing really interesting insights into how humans strategically use language to communicate under pressure. We’re also looking forward to using this innovative research agenda to help the Williams Racing team find the edge in this important but often overlooked aspect of high-performance sport.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams Racing, said:

“In Formula 1, effective communication is fundamental. Working with Kieran File and the Sports Culture and Communication Research Collective we will be focusing on how engineers, mechanics, team management and drivers all communicate with one another as they make decisions. We hope the team will benefit from interesting insights on how humans strategically use language to communicate under pressure.”

The Sports Culture and Communication Research Collective has recently completed a project with England Boxing that analysed how coaches coach in the corner as opposed to what they say – an approach, it is believed, that no other country has yet considered.

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