This week I bring you details of how the Alpine F1 team is attracting yet more superstar investors, athletes who all want to be a part of the business of motorsport.
I also bring you up to date on who the most marketable motorsport athletes are, the latest decisions of the FIA World Motor Sport Council and how Porsche runs its 963 customer car program in the WEC.
I also include the latest sponsorship deals and partnership news plus updates on the latest race team developments from around the globe.
All this and more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
News emerged this week of a group of new investors in the Alpine F1 team. It is always interesting to see the different ways the news is reported based based upon geography. UK-based Autosport focused on Premier League footballers Trent Alexander-Arnold and Juan Mata as part of the investor group while American website Sportico focused on NFL players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.
The four players, plus world champion boxer Anthony Joshua and golfer Rory McIlroy are part of the Otro Capital group that is investing in the team. According to Otro, the investment is worth over $211 million.
“We are honored at Otro Capital to be joined by this particular group of investors into our Alpine F1 investment in partnership with RedBird Capital Partners and Maximum Effort Investments,” Alec Scheiner, Otro Capital said in a press release. “These are best-in-class investors, athletes, entertainers, and entrepreneurs and they are all committed to elevating the Alpine F1 team.”
Seeing the effect that Kelce girlfriend Taylor Swift has been having on the NFL, Forbes wonders out loud if Kelce could be bringing the “Taylor Swift Effect” to Formula 1.
“There is little doubt that with F1 working to attract a wider fan base of its own it would be no surprise to see some of the new celebrity star investors at an upcoming F1 race. The series races in Austin, Texas this coming weekend, but will make its debut in Las Vegas November 16-18. The Kansas City Chiefs will be playing a Monday night game on November 20, giving the players a weekend off. An appearance in Vegas by Kelce and his famous girlfriend isn’t out of the question. If it happens it could be the kind of sensation in the mainstream media, especially here in America, that will have Formula 1 grinning ear to ear.”
The Andretti Global bid for an F1 team is still generating pages of comments and analysis and this week has been no different. While spurned applicants have made no secret of their disappointment and frustration with the decision, two articles stood out to me.
The Race looks at how arguments that Andretti must bring “added-value” to the grid don’t really hold water.
“But once you go outside of Ferrari and the other storied/successful teams (Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Alpine/Renault), what is the value of the legacy of an AlphaTauri, or a Sauber, or a Haas especially? Apart from already being at the table before Liberty Media took over F1’s commercial rights, it’s difficult to see what clear added value any of these teams really bring.”
The other article that caught my eye was Why Andretti F1 hopes are not over, even if FOM says no by Jonathan Noble in Autosport.
“But a no (from FOM) will not be the end of the road for Andretti, because there is one critical factor at play that could dramatically changes things – and it is that the current Concorde Agreement runs out at the end of 2025. And while some parties may be eager to see a lot of the current terms roll over into the new Concorde that will run from 2026, the situation surrounding new teams will almost certainly be something that there will be a push for movement on – especially from the FIA’s side.”
There will be a lot of maneuvering over the next few months on both sides of this debate as the struggle over the direction and governance of Formula 1 only looks to increase. The Piranha Club is officially in session!
Lewis Hamilton has been named motorsport’s most marketable athlete for 2023 in SportsPro’s annual list of the world’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes (50MM). With this year’s list prompting the usual discussion and debate, one area that cannot be disputed is the strong representation from Formula One. BlackBook Motorsport analyses how the drivers have consolidated their position among the most high-profile sports stars in the world.
Formula 1 has announced the Belgian Grand Prix will remain on the calendar until at least 2025 after agreeing a new one-year contract extension with Spa-Francorchamps.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali: “Spa is synonymous with Formula 1 having been one of the circuits in our first ever season and is much-loved by fans and drivers alike, so I am delighted to extend our relationship with them until 2025. The promoter has taken big strides in the last few years to improve the fan experience and infrastructure, and work is ongoing between all the stakeholders with a clear focus on delivering safe and exciting racing. I would like to thank the promoter and the Government of Wallonia for their continued support.”
CNN has an insightful article on how F1 and ‘Drive to Survive’ show the changing way we watch sports.
“The underdog story, the comeback wins, the Cinderella moments, the historic rivalries, the regional loyalties. Sports aren’t just compelling in the midst of the game; it’s the adjacent drama that often draws people in the most. The appetite for such narratives has overflowed in recent years, spilling into all areas of entertainment and giving audiences a steady diet of docuseries, TikTok videos, TV specials and more. Now we have a whole genre of entertainment about sports that dives into all of the juicy stories that keep us watching — including series like ESPN’s “The Last Dance” or Netflix’s “Formula 1: Drive to Survive.””
I have to say I was stunned to find out the rumor was true but we will actually be getting a live Netflix sports event next month featuring, wait for it, Formula 1 drivers and pro golfers teeing off against each other in a live golf event.
“Expected for months and building on a series of well-received sports documentaries, the Nov. 14 Netflix Cup golf tournament — featuring Formula 1 and PGA Tour athletes from the company’s popular “Drive to Survive” and “Full Swing” docuseries — will serve as a lead-in to the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. Staged in Las Vegas, the Netflix Cup will represent a key test of both the company’s ability to handle the mechanics of live sports streaming and the crossover appeal of golf and auto racing stars. Each of four competing pairings will include an F1 driver and PGA Tour golfer, somewhat similar to the format of Warner Bros. Discovery’s celebrity golf showcase, “The Match.””
General Motorsport Industry News
The FIA World Motor Sport Council convened for its third meeting of 2023. The meeting was chaired by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem with FIA Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid and WMSC members joining in person at the Federation’s offices in Geneva and via video conference. Among the decisions made were the following:
- 2024 FIA WRC and Formula E calendars approved
- WEC: enhanced qualifying format and LMGT3 Technical Regulations validated
- New terminology for FIA Cross-Country Rallying disciplines
- New class in Karting and National ranking system roll-out
- New Technical Regulations for FIA Rally 5-kit
Autosport looks into how Porsche runs its 963 customer car program in the WEC. “We have a catalogue that we give to the customers,” Porsche’s LMDh director Urs Kuratle told Autosport. “When the customer gets their car the first time, we give them a base set-up so that they do not start on a blank piece of paper. They have exactly the same car [as the factory Penske], exactly the same tools, and they also have access to simulators.”
Daily Sportscar reports on the recently held IMSA State of the Sport news conference at the season-ending Petite Le Mans.
“The whole IMSA team has worked diligently over many years to develop a stable platform, and we could not be prouder to showcase the fruits of our labor today,” said Doonan. “Long-term partnership extensions are a huge vote of confidence that our platform is working. The commitments we’ve secured from the number of manufacturers that participate in IMSA is further proof that our platform is working. And perhaps the biggest indicator is what we experienced this past season, where record numbers of race fans have turned out at racetracks from coast-to-coast to take in the IMSA experience in person. The fans will ultimately benefit from this sustained period of stability.”
Australian racetrack Wakefield Park is set to reopen in mid-2024 under a new name, with plans for racing on the circuit in both directions according to Speed Cafe.
“Our new brand name, One Raceway, will encapsulate our revolutionary ability to have two circuits – one clockwise and one anti-clockwise – in the same raceway, while also symbolising the unity woven throughout our journey with the community,” explained new track owner Steve Shelley.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- MotoGP confirms Animoca Brands as Australian GP title sponsor (BlackBook Motorsport)
- F1 pens RTBF media rights extension in Belgium (BlackBook Motorsport)
- American Express and Formula 1 Announce Multi-Year Partnership (LVGP)
- VT Markets joins forces with Maserati MSG Racing for Formula E’s 10th season (Maserati MSG)
- FIA Announces Global Partnership Between One Road & Booking.Com (FIA)
- Revitalised British Rally Championship reveals Probite as title partner for 2024 (BRC)
- McLaren and Cisco ink F1 Academy partnership (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Williams F1 team lands multi-year partnership deal with THG (Motorsport.com)
The Business of Running a Race Team
Podium Life spoke to HMD Motorsports general manager, Mike Maurini about his motorsport journey and his thoughts on leadership. “The biggest lesson that I learned was to never stand still. It does not matter how far ahead you may be, if you slow down for any reason, you will be overtaken. Kind of like what I learned at my very first job at McDonald’s, if you have time to lean you have time to clean.”
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- JDC-Miller Eyeing Two-Car Porsche GTP Effort in 2025 (Sportscar 365)
- Team manager resigns amid Team 18 reshuffle (Speed Cafe)
- The unexpected, covert birth of Haas: F1’s original, American team (The Athletic)
- Rahals form Ducati team in MotoAmerica (Racer)
- RiceRace Returns to FRP For 13th Season (Rice Race Prep)
- Montreal-Based MMG Planning Two-Car Honda TCR Entry (Sportscar 365)
- Barwell Commits Two Lamborghinis To 2024 British GT (Daily Sportscar)
- GetSpeed Confirms Asian Le Mans Drivers, 24H Dubai Entries (Daily Sportscar)
- Dragon Racing Unveils New Ferrari 296 GT3s (Daily Sportscar)
- Glickenhaus will not return to WEC in 2024 with Le Mans Hypercar (Autosport)
- How Lamborghini took the long road to Le Mans (Autosport)
- Eurasia Motorsport to compete in Sepang F4 SEA certified by FIA events (Asian Motorsport)
- What you may not know about the Lexus GT3 program in IMSA (Grassroots Motorsports)
- Le Mans winners Inter Europol partner with PR1/Mathiasen for 2024 IMSA season (Autosport)
- MSR “An Option” for Possible Alpine GTP Program (Sportscar 365)
- ART Grand Prix Set For Surprise ELMS LMP2 Campaign (Daily Sportscar)
- NIO 333 rebrands as ERT for 2024 Formula E season (Autosport)
- K-PAX to Take One-Year Hiatus from Racing (Sportscar 365)
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Motorsport Australia has announced Sunil Vohra as its new Chief Executive Officer. Vohra, who has extensive executive experience across a range of industries around the world, will begin his role in November.
(Press Release) Simon O’Brien of Myers Park Law [North Carolina, USA] and Niall Geaney of Geaney Solicitors LLP [Dublin, Ireland] have proudly announced a groundbreaking strategic partnership in the world of legal services. With a shared passion for sports and a vision for delivering top-notch legal support, this partnership brings together two experienced law firms, spanning the U.S. and Europe.
This new Trans-Atlantic partnership is a game-changer in the legal realm, allowing both Myers Park Law and Geaney Solicitors LLP to provide comprehensive legal assistance to clients in both the United States and Europe. The expertise of these two firms combines to offer services in various areas, including:
- Sponsorship Agreements
- Driver and Team Representation
- Employment-Related Matters
- Contract Disputes and Debt Recovery Actions
- National Tribunal Representation
- Appeals and Protests
- Commercial Rights and Media Contracts
- Merchandising Agreements
- Confidentiality Agreements, including NDA Negotiations
- Intellectual Property Disputes
For inquiries or more information, please contact:
- SJO@myersparklaw.com for Myers Park Law
- Niall@geaneysolicitors.ie for Geaney Solicitors LLP
(Via Motorsport UK) Motorsport UK is delighted to hear James Dornor, founder of ‘Driven By Us’, the first ethnic minority Club to be approved by Motorsport UK as a recognized Club focusing on STEM, Media and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, has been awarded a Points of Light Award. Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community. Every weekday the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the daily Points of Light award.