American businesses are embracing Formula 1’s soaring popularity as much as American fans and in this edition of the Business of Motorsport, I bring you the numbers.
I also look at McLaren Racing’s call for greater collaboration within motorsport on sustainability, the move to “regionalize” the F1 calendar, Hyundai going to the WEC and how sustainability is coming to the Indy 500.
I also have the latest sponsorship deals and partnership news, the complexity of packing for Le Mans and why so many drivers live in Monaco.
All this and much more in this week’s Business of Motorsport on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
McLaren Racing recently published its annual Sustainability Report , with CEO Zak Brown calling for greater collaboration across the industry, and for teams to work alongside F1 and the FIA to help create a regulatory framework that better enables investment and innovation in sustainability without compromising performance.
“We strongly believe in the cost cap and wouldn’t want to see anything that undermines its integrity, but current regulations have created some unintended barriers when it comes to investing in sustainability. It’s been fantastic to see so much support from F1 and other teams on this issue, and we’re delighted that the FIA has established a working group to explore next steps.
“But to unlock our sport’s potential to drive the development of more sustainable technologies that can spark positive changes on a global scale, we need a genuine step change. That requires a level playing field so teams can work towards achieving the same targets and no longer need to choose between investing in car performance and investing in sustainability.
“Our sport needs a clear regulatory framework with financial, technical and sporting regulations that better enable us all to innovate and invest in sustainability. We need to find better ways to share expertise and insights across our industry. Only true collaboration will help us drive meaningful change. And if we want to achieve a step change with the new set of 2026 regulations, then those decisions need to be made now.”
The full report can be read here.
When it comes to new F1 teams, Zak Brown has made no secret of his support for Andretti Global, but he cautions that dreamers need not apply.
As far as the status of the new team applicants, Racing News365 looks at the new teams process in an attempt to determine who is in the race for an F1 grid spot. “How many – if any – will be selected depends on the quality of applications. But, it gets complicated: Although the FIA’s International Sporting Code makes provision for 26-car grids (13 teams), Liberty’s prize fund is structured to pay to 12th place so it is likely no more than two will get the nod.”
As Red Bull Powertrains gears up to supply Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri in 2026, Christian Horner has stated that they are currently undecided on the F1 engine badging. “Between 2016 and 2018, the Renault engines supplied to Red Bull were due to a sponsorship agreement. So, the precedent is there for Ford to have a more visible presence beyond its technical partnership. Whether this amounts to a full ‘Red Bull-Ford’ entrant remains to be seen, but a ‘Red Bull Ford Powertrains’ renaming could certainly be on the cards.”
General Motors has revealed ambitious F1 power unit manufacturer plans. “Speaking to Autosport, GM motorsport executive director Eric Warren said: “GM is motivated to be involved in the car and design, the whole process. It’s not white-labelling an engine [a comment possibly aimed at Ford who have partnered with Red Bull Powertrains].”
Speaking of F1 engine suppliers, the rumor is that Honda will be teaming up with Aston Martin in 2026. The Race looks into the logic behind a blockbuster Aston Martin-Honda F1 project. “As for Honda, the self-inflicted loss of Red Bull at the end of 2025 means it needs to bet on a team that has the potential to rise to the standard Honda is currently enjoying. That leaves it with precious few options – of which Aston Martin is the most convincing.”
Alpine Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer anticipates more investment for his team should the Renault group’s expected sale of a minority share of its racing division go ahead. The Race explains what a share sale ‘injection’ could mean for the Alpine F1 team.
“The motivation appears to be to help fund the international expansion of the Alpine brand, with new models and a likely deal with AutoNation to sell its cars in the United States, and to reduce the financial burden of the car manufacturer while ensuring the F1 team has the funds to be competitive long-term.”
Last week in the Business of Motorsport I mentioned that one of the biggest issues with making Formula 1 more sustainable is the logistics of the sport. Flying the cars, equipment and personnel around the world is carbon intensive and F1 have stated that they understand the issue and are working on regionalizing the calendar to make it all more sustainable. This week The Race reports that there are big potential changes coming to Formula 1’s calendar for 2024 and beyond.
“‘Regionalising’ the calendar has been an intention of F1 as part of its sustainability efforts, although there is little evidence of it being realised so far – with the Austin/Mexico/Brazil triple-header the only notable example. However, it was always said to be a longer-term plan, at least partly because existing contracts may have locked certain races into certain dates. In 2024, though, the intention is to start the season with a more thought-out sequence of races.”
The return of the Malaysian Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar is a “matter of time”, according to the president of the Motorsports Association Malaysia (MAM).
“In terms of being the host, it’s not a problem. It is a question of who is going to pay and whether we can afford it or not,” the MAM president told the New Straits Times. “I have no idea what is it (the cost) right now, but definitely it is higher than when we stopped in 2017.”
The chief organizer of the Russian Grand Prix claim Formula 1 “still owe us money” from the cancellation of last year’s race, following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. “Do we still have hope of seeing the money back? Yes, certainly. This is our country’s money and I am not afraid to bring that out.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Korean motor manufacturer Hyundai is preparing to launch an FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar program, French newspaper Auto Hebdo has reported. “Hyundai Motorsport boss Cyril Abiteboul, formally team principal of Renault Formula 1 team, has approached former Williams F1 technical director François-Xavier Demaison, also known as ‘FX’ after his initials, to prepare a future Hypercar programme for the manufacturer, with aims to compete in what the newspaper has called the “medium term”.”
Formula E has announced that Jamie Reigle will step down as Chief Executive Officer, with Jeff Dodds set to join from 5 June. The Race asks, was CEO Reigle good for Formula E? “But the fact remains that he was not always close to the heartbeat of Formula E, which is naturally at its home base in Hammersmith, London. This was also, optically at least, something which he was openly criticised for.”
As the World Rally Championship (WRC) signs a one-year extension, with an option to extend by a further year, to remain in Portugal, BlackBook Motorsport reports that the WRC and FIA are considering a cost cap to attract new manufacturers. “Peter Thul, WRC senior sporting director, told : “This is an ongoing work at the moment. I remember when there was a cost assumption for the current cars. I don’t tell you the number, but it’s a little bit drifting away in the wrong direction.”
With Euroformula pulling out of the Pau Grand Prix just days before the race, both Formula Scout and Feeder Series explain what happened in those dramatic last few days before the race.
- Inside the cancellation – and replacement – of the EFO Pau GP round (Feeder Series)
- The inside story of the 2023 Pau Grand Prix (Formula Scout)
The NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have announced an expanded set of sustainability initiatives that are in effect at the speedway this month. Penske President and CEO Mark Miles and IMS President Doug Boles held a press conference on Saturday to detail all the ways the speedway continues to be more sustainable in its operation.
Among the initiatives:
- There is a whole new set of LED lighting in the team’s garage areas, with the facility using the opportunity to improve the brightness as well as reduce energy usage in a $250,000 upgrade.
- There are new aluminum cups that are in use throughout the hospitality and media areas that have been recycled and are fully recyclable again after use.
- Other fan-facing pushes include a special line of clothing that is made from recycled plastic bottles, which are made in a way that it is nearly impossible to distinguish the material from cotton.
- IMS is now partnering with Keys2Work, which is an alternate staffing service that employs at-risk adults and those looking to re-enter the workforce that would traditionally have a difficult time finding an employer to work with them.
- Last year 4,000 pounds of food was sent to local food banks, and that number is set to expand this year with the new partnership.
Further details on IMS and Indycar’s sustainability and DEI initiatives are set out in their newly released Penske Entertainment DEI and Sustainability report Accelerating Change which you can read here.
The NTT IndyCar Series is making headway on holding a race in Argentina. “RACER has confirmed a post-season appearance at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo road course, which hosted a recent demonstration run by Juncos Hollinger Racing, is where the series has focused its attention.”
The new Balaton Park Circuit officially opened in Hungary on Tuesday, becoming the highest FIA standard race track to be built in central Europe in over 15 years. The facility, which hopes to host international racing from the 2024 season, has received over €200 million in investment and will be accompanied by a four-star hotel and museum.
“One thing we thought, looking back, was that the brand did not fully embody the vision we have for this property. With these wild tracks, their spectacular jumps and the wide variety of surfaces drivers had to contend with, along with the intuitive formats, it goes far beyond the traditional parameters of rallycross. The reality is, we don’t fit within the conventional prescriptions for the sport of rallycross. Our tracks are different, our formats are different, our cars are different,” he added. “The new branding is making a statement, this is a new sport, a new attitude.”
Veteran promoter and track operator Pete Scalzo has been forced to relinquish his lease on the Twin Branch Motorsports Complex, more recently referred to as Almost Heaven Motorsports Park. With Scalzo’s exit, the Mingo County Redevelopment Commission, the local government organization that played a large part in the repurposing of the former coal mine land to create a dragstrip, has put out a public request for proposal (RFP) from parties interested in assuming the lease and taking the reigns of the virtually brand-new 1/8-mile that sits high atop the hills of the unincorporated mining community of Twin Branch. The Mingo County Redevelopment Commission will be accepting RFP’s through May 31, 2023. The specifics required of such proposals can be found outlined HERE.
Barry Rogers maintains that the Australian Racing Group can be financially sustainable despite the current skinny grids. “Barry Rogers conceded that there are challenges but, as Garry Rogers Motorsport celebrates 60 years, told Speedcafe and the Parked Up Plus podcast that they remain committed to providing a platform which serves as an alternative to the fully professional Supercars Championship.”
NTT IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal says the business climate in Indiana is conducive to investment. “First off, I think the state has made it attractive,” said Rahal. “When you look at the industries that Indianapolis has to offer, the talent pool that it has to offer, the cottage industries whether it be carbon fiber shops, whether it be the actual Firestone Performance Tire…everybody’s here. So the ease of that side of the business is critical.”
If you always wondered why race drivers tend to live in Monaco, here are two articles that will explain why.
- Explained: Why do most F1 drivers choose to live in Monaco?
- There’s more to Monaco than glitz and glamour
NXT Gen Cup has moved its headquarters from Stockholm to Gothenburg, Sweden, as production of the 20 all-electric LRT NXT1 race cars near the final stages ahead of the inaugural season. The new facilities span over 1300 square metres to include production, offices, and spare parts.
Five-time Dakar Rally winner, the reigning World Rally-Raid Champion, and sixteen Middle East Rally crowns Nasser Al-Attiyah has revealed that he intends to run for FIA President when the next election arrives. He revealed his plans in an interview with Al Sharq last Sunday.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Not only has Formula 1 exploded in popularity with fans in the United States, it has also become even more popular with American businesses. The U.S. corporate involvement in Formula 1 is, according to Spomotion Analytics, on a historically high level. Last year, the number of U.S. official partners in Formula 1 exceeded 100 companies. Never has the sport had so many partners and sponsors from the U.S.
Here are a few articles looking into the phenomenon.
- Analysis | US sponsors seize power in Formula 1 (GP Blog)
- F1’s razzamatazz may divide fan opinion, but US business loves it (Autosport)
- F1 Arcade coming to Boston (The Qualifier)
- The American Approach: How F1 Has Captured Corporate Imagination (Right Formula)
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Red Bull Announced as Presenting Partner for The Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix
- Huski Chocolate to lead IndyCar sponsorship with new vodka cocktail
- MXGP agrees Dunlop extension
- FEL Motorsports announces 2023 partnership with Braidan Motorsport
- E.L.F. Skin Enters the Race with Indy 500 Driver Katherine Legge
- Mercantile Bank International becomes title sponsor of Campos Racing F1 Academy racing team
- NASCAR partners with Leidos to promote lunar terrain vehicle
- Hagerty Motorsports and SCCA: A Continuing Partnership
- Toyota Racing Development and Original Grain Partner to Create the Solar Octane Collection
- No sponsor logos, no problem for Dreyer & Reinbold
- Whelen Engineering and Team Fox Racing for a Cure announce Mazda MX-5 Cup car giveaway
- Chuck E. Cheese signs first sports partnership with Hendrick Motorsports
- Battle For Vegas Announces Partnership with The Las Vegas Grand Prix Foundation as Home Run Derby Sponsor
The Business of Running a Race Team
Kelly Crandall at Racer.com looks at the art and science of shipping Hendrick Motorsports’ Garage 56 cars to Le Mans. “We don’t have a clue (what we need),” said Honan. “You keep looking and packing and thinking, ‘Maybe I need more of this or these.’ It seems like overkill, but maybe it’s not because I keep reminding myself we don’t know what we’re in for.”
Racer.com also explains how Kellymoss is adapting to the GTD grid. “Obviously we have taken on a huge task by jumping up to the GTD category,” says Alec Udell, who put the No. 92 on pole position and finished third with Julien Andlauer. “There’s a ton of experience with the Porsches in the Porsche Cup championship, running up front consistently there over the last 10 years. Bringing that knowledge with the Porsche to the Riley motorsports team that has a history of success in the WeatherTech championship, I think it’s a really, really good pairing. There have been teething issues along the way, so not everything is rainbows and sunshine, but we’re working through it and we’re doing the best that we can.”
BlackBook Motorsport point out why Paretta Autosport are both an achievement and a lesson for diversity in motorsport. “I think the reason why it was able to come together when it did was more people were starting to get their [head] around the idea of needing gender diversity,” outlines Paretta. “The reason we want more women working in racing is because we want more women to be watching racing, so that we can keep racing as an industry.”
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- Team BRIT announces McLaren Trophy Entry
- Newly formed Maezawa Racing confirms Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS entry
- Indigenous team moves into new Queensland Raceway home
- WTRAndretti Will Run Second Acura ARX-06 GTP Car in 2024
- No plans yet for “complicated” customer Acura GTP IMSA cars