Alpine F1 has gone Hollywood as it has attracted a new investor group that includes actor Ryan Reynolds. How this investment factors into both the valuation of F1 teams and the series is covered in this week’s Business of Motorsport Roundup.
In addition to F1 business news I cover Michael Andretti’s potential move into NASCAR, how Alpine may be expanding into the American market and GM’s plans for Corvette Racing.
All this plus the latest motorsport sponsorship deals and partnerships, how brands are making billions in F1 and much more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news that racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
The news that a U.S. investor group that includes Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds has acquired a 24% stake in the Alpine F1 team has sent the internet into a tizzy. Why did they invest in Alpine? Is the team really worth $900M USD? What will Alpine do with the money? Here are a few articles that provide excellent analysis of how the investment happened and what the plans are going forward.
- RENAULT GROUP: Alpine Racing Ltd speeds up its development (Renault Press Release)
- U.S. Investor Group—Including Ryan Reynolds—Acquires 24% Stake In Alpine F1 Team (Forbes)
- Hollywood stars buy into Alpine (Speed Cafe)
- Ryan Reynolds, RedBird $900M Alpine Deal Reflects F1 Financial Changes (Sportico)
- Alpine F1 secures €200m from investors including Ryan Reynolds (Autosport)
- What new Hollywood backers mean for Alpine’s F1 team (The Race)
- The NEW alpine investor…(Joe Saward)
- Alpine CEO reveals F1 spending plans following Hollywood investment (Motorsport Week)
- RedBird, Otro Will Look To Double Alpine EBITDA Over Next 5-7 Yrs (John WallStreet)
- ANALYSIS: Why Ryan Reynolds invested in Alpine F1 (Speed Cafe)
- Alpine raises F1 pricetag: why new team entry fee is set to triple (Motorsport Magazine)
Based on the investment into the Alpine F1 team, its valuation has been determined to be approximately $900M, but is that its true value? And what about the other F1 teams on the grid? In a perfect act of timing, Sportico has revealed their first ever 2023 Formula One Valuations Ranking revealing that Ferrari is on top at $3.1B and the average valuation hits $1.5B. The full list can be found here.
“The 10 current teams are worth a cumulative $15.3 billion, by our count. Ferrari is on top at $3.13 billion, despite a title drought that will reach 15 years in 2023. Ferrari is likely “unsellable” but represents a unicorn team in the sport. Mercedes ($2.7 billion) and Red Bull ($2.42 billion) are up next, while Haas F1 Racing trails the pack at $710 million (click here for the full top 10 and a detailed methodology.)“
Now that covers the valuation of the teams, but what about the business of F1 as a whole? Greg Maffei has said Liberty Media would want a “hell of a lot more” than $20 billion to sell Formula 1 to an interested buyer and has explained why they have no intention to sell. The two links below, one a podcast and one a video explain how the business of F1 has been expanding since Liberty Media took control of the commercial rights.
- Breaking Down F1’s Billion-Dollar Business Rise (Sporticast)
Expanding the F1 Grid
With all this talk about the value of an F1 team and Formula 1 as a whole, what about expansion of the current grid by adding new teams? With news that Hitech Grand Prix has submitted an application to join the grid in 2026, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei is open to the idea of expanding the F1 grid and definitely sees value in GM being a part of the championship. And while Liberty Media controls the commercial rights and cannot be “forced” to add another team, the FIA have indicated that they cannot simply reject an application if it has complied with all the requirements to submit a bid so there are a lot of moving parts in adding a new team for 2026.
Greg Mafei as quoted in Racer: “So I think in the right set of circumstances we would work to get the 11th team. Somebody who could bring a lot of value to the sport, a lot of value to the fans, because of their position in technology, their position as an OEM, their position in marketing – some combination of all that – you could imagine coming to some kind of an agreement. But it’s not without controversy, certainly among the ten teams.”
The question that Michael Andretti may be asking himself though is whether the Alpine valuation will make his journey to becoming an F1 team owner that much harder as the entry fee to join F1 is set to skyrocket.
If you have forgotten who has applied to enter F1, Motorsport Magazine has you covered in Which new teams are bidding to join F1? From Andretti to Hitech.
AlphaTauri is set to be renamed for the 2024 Formula 1 season as part of the team’s ongoing restructure under new Red Bull management, according to Helmut Marko. “There will be new sponsors and also a new name. The orientation is clear: based on Red Bull Racing, as far as the regulations allow. Do-it-yourself constructions are the wrong way.”
Ford have said they are finding “more and more areas of opportunity” with Red Bull with every meeting, as they gear up to become partners from 2026. “The partnership with as Red Bull for powertrains, it’s been fantastic,” Ford’s global director of motorsport Mark Rushbrook told Speedcafe. “We had some initial ideas of where we would have tech transfer and the opportunity to contribute to that programme which was already, I think, a good list. Not necessarily every day, but every discussion and every visit, we identify more and more areas of opportunity, so we’re really happy with it. It’s progressing very well.”
What does Bridgestone need to do to win the F1 tire contract from Pirelli according to The Race? “If it is to win the tender, it will not only need to show that it could potentially deliver on whatever demands F1 and the FIA have of it, but also a willingness to do so. This is a very different F1 environment that it is entering, but its F1 history tells us that it will go into this with its eyes open and fully cognisant of the challenge that’s in front of it. After all, it took most by surprise with its performance straight out of the box when it came into grand prix racing full-time.”
With rumblings that the German Grand Prix could be returning to Hockenheim in the near future, F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has confirmed plans to rotate future European races in order to accommodate certain venues on the calendar. “In Europe, I am expecting to see races where the rotational principle could be applied, but not two in the same year.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Not content to just pursue a spot on the F1 grid, Sports Business Journal reports that Andretti is looking to expand to NASCAR. “However, sources have now revealed that Andretti has already started having discussions in the NASCAR sphere about how and when to get into the series. While Andretti could purchase a charter to enter NASCAR as its own outfit, another option would be to partner with a team that already controls one. It could not be determined how advanced the conversations were, but the series is already midway through its 2023 season so any program by Andretti would be unlikely to start until 2024 at the earliest.”
In recent Business of Motorsport columns I have mentioned NASCAR growth possibilities in Canada, India and the Middle East but for former NASCAR driver and Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, he knows what he wants to see next.
“I’ve been pretty steady on this, I think, for a number of years, but we have to get to Canada,” Keselowski said Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. “There is a big market for us there. We need to get to Canada and on an oval in Canada. I think that particular market is underserved and full of a ton of NASCAR fans that would help us branch out somewhat internationally while in a manner I think could control costs for the owners in a respectful way.”
Not only is Alpine racing in F1 but they plan to race in the WEC as well. IMSA President John Doonan has indicated that Alpine’s new LMDh contender would be eligible to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship following its homologation and if a commercial agreement with the sanctioning body is reached.
Will Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Hypercar program hit the track after all? Daily Sportscar is reporting that this may just be a possibility following some intriguing new developments. “DSC sources have confirmed that a privately but fully-funded engine programme is set to adapt the 1000 bhp normally aspirated 6.5 litre V12 that powers the car to the 670 bhp output level required by the Hypercar ruleset. DSC can confirm that the likely funding for the programme comes with not insignificant motorsport credibility.”
Chevrolet has announced a transition from a full factory effort to a works-supported program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD Pro class next year with the new Corvette Z06 GT3.R, which will compete under the Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsport banner.
“It makes sense to have Corvette Racing with Pratt Miller Motorsports lead the competition element of the Z06 GT3.R program in the GTD Pro championship starting in 2024,” said Corvette Z06 GT3.R program manager Christie Bagne. “The learnings we will take from testing and competition will flow to our other Z06 GT3.R customer teams to ensure that the Corvette brand is a championship contender around the world.”
NBC Sports reports on how champions and winners from the GM Motorsports IndyCar and NASCAR Cup series teams often swap cockpits in high-tech simulators. Their engineers and team managers also gather in the same conference rooms to hash out how their vastly different cars are handling on the same racetracks.
“I want everyone at GM Motorsports to really have the sense they were racing together and really mattered. So we built everything in our interaction with the teams, and you get that sense when you come in there. I think the drivers get that.”
The organizers of the TCR World Tour round at Autódromo Víctor Borrat Fabini – El Pinar in Uruguay have estimated that the event will see a joint field of 35 cars. An investment of 1.5 million USD will also be made in track upgrades ahead of the event.
“The presence of the TCR World Tour is very important for us and we estimate that their nine cars will be joined by 26 from TCR South America,” said Julio Maglione, President of the Uruguayan Drivers Association. “This is a big push for us to have a 100% international circuit, and we have so far invested 1.5 million USD.”
The MotoGP grid will remain at 22 bikes for the 2024 season, as Dorna Sports’ chief sporting officer Carlos Ezpeleta ruled out an extra team joining the field. “In an interview with the Tot Costa programme on Catalunya Radio, Ezpeleta confirmed there would be no extra team in 2024 and states Dorna would prefer to have the grid capped at 20 bikes.”
GMF Capital (GMF), the family office for Gary Fegel and a leading private investment firm, has announced it has completed the acquisition of Motorsport Network Media LLC (MSNM), a global digital media platform in motorsport and automotive, for an undisclosed sum. “We are excited to acquire Motorsport Network Media’s impressive, world-class portfolio of media assets, which are primed for significant growth with the surging popularity of motorsport, particularly Formula 1, in the U.S. and internationally,” said Gary Fegel, Founder and Principal of GMF Capital.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Huddle Up explains how brands leverage Formula 1 to make billions. “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is a common phrase at the race track. And with Formula 1 averaging 77 million viewers per race (i.e., 23+ Super Bowls a year), brands have spent more than $30 billion advertising on the sport since 2005.”
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Permco to Be Primary Sponsor of Harvey’s Entry for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
- Formula E Expands Existing Partnership with CBS Sports, Strikes U.S. Streaming Rights Deal with Roku
- Bosch Deepens Ties With World Endurance Racing; Signs New Marketing Agreement
- Haas establish STEM-focused initiative with American International School of Jeddah
- Med Tech innovators partner with Team BRIT
- AJ Foyt Racing partners with IFS
- Formula 1 drives STEM engagement in UK schools with STEM Challenge Days
- WeatherTech Sponsorship for Proton Porsche 963s
- Chicago-based Porter Pipe & Supply sponsoring Connor Mosack a Chicago Street Race
- Report: Nascar backtracks on exclusive streaming deal for Xfinity Series
- Formula E has announced that Aurora Media Worldwide has been reappointed as the host broadcast production partner
The Business of Running a Race Team
Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports’ GTD Pro effort will be bolstered by new commercial partners as part of its move to a factory supported operation according to Pratt Miller Motorsports Vice President Brandon Widmer, who has outlined the changes to the program for next year.
“That’s a great opportunity for our company directly, for partners that have shown interest in the past and maybe those opportunities weren’t just quite there with the way the program was structured. For us it’s not only a new chapter with a new GT3 car but it’s a new chapter in our business as well. We’re excited how it’s structured and how we’ll move forward.”
A recent F1 cost cap ruling by the FIA has teams scrambling to avoid breaching it. Planet F1 reports that the FIA has reportedly issued a new technical directive, TD45, to control the influence of outside sporting interests for teams, and four have caught the eye of the governing body. “TD45 is said to have been issued in order to better police the category of ‘Non F.1 Activities’, covering the design of boats, bicycles or road cars, with a potential loophole having appeared whereby teams can transfer personnel to such projects, where they would no longer be counted under the F1 budget cap, yet those outside learnings could potentially be of use in the world of Formula 1 design.”
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- AWA to Launch GTD Program After LMP3 Class Removal
- TF Sport and Corvette Racing join forces for FIA WEC
- Juncos parts ways with two IndyCar engineers in ‘restructuring’
- WRT Completes First Test With BMW M Hybrid V8 at Aragon
- Proton Intends to Stay With Porsche in GTs Alongside Ford
- Jay Howard Driver Development joins USF Juniors, quits F4 US for 2024