This week in the Business of Motorsport I once again bring you news and developments from throughout the world of motorsport. I look at the recent FIA Women in Motorsport Commission networking event in Monza, what’s next for Red Bull Powertrains, the legal aspect of NFTs and the metaverse for sports brands, Ford’s motorsport plans and much more. I also bring you the usual selection of motorsport sponsorship deals, ways racing teams are running their businesses, motorsport industry events to attend and the latest movers and shakers. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
- The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission held its second networking event of 2022 at the Italian Grand Prix, on 8th September, as part of its mission to actively promote the participation of women in all areas of the sport. More than 50 women from across teams, the promoter, the circuit, the Automobile Club d’Italia and the FIA, as well as race officials, volunteers and Italian students, attended the event, demonstrating the wide representation of women in the paddock and the diversity of roles and backgrounds. Many professions were represented at the gathering including engineering, strategy, communication, marketing, events, logistics, sustainability, sponsorship, while Formula 2 driver Tatiana Calderon also joined the roundtable. In addition to the women from across the FIA championships, the event was also attended by FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) representatives Philippa Laverty and Nita Korhonen, with the Commissions of both federations maintaining close ties. (FIA)
- As I mentioned last week, talks between Porsche and Redbull have ended but according to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, F1 can cope without Porsche. “But I believe that we as Formula One are currently a very inclusive platform. There are also other manufacturers sitting at the table who prefer not to come out into the open.” (Blackbook Motorsport)
- The Silverstone Circuit in the UK has fueled anger among fans planning to attend the 2023 Formula One British Grand Prix by adopting a controversial pricing strategy. “The new Silverstone ticket cost is subject to a ‘refresh every 90 seconds’, with demand dictating how much prices will increase at each refresh. Fans who want priority access to these tickets, therefore guaranteeing themselves the lowest price possible, must pay for membership allowing for early access, which costs UK£99 (US$114).” (Blackbook Motorsport)
- LawInSport has a great article on How To Launch An NFT – Key Tips For Sports Organisations. “We may be in the middle (or the beginning) of a ‘crypto winter’ – but brands and organisations of all sizes are continuing to explore ideas for launching non-fungible tokens (NFTs). From digital collectibles and NFT season tickets, to fan tokens and exclusive merchandise, the sports industry has been leading the charge in how this technology can be leveraged in innovative ways and provide real value for fans. Nevertheless, alongside the considerable opportunities that are available for brands entering web3, there are also a number of legal and reputational risks that need to be considered. There have been several high-profile flops, regulatory investigations and fan backlash arising from ill-conceived or poorly executed NFT launches, and brands will be keen to avoid history repeating itself. This article provides key legal and commercial tips that sports organisations (brands) should consider before launching an NFT.”
- LawInSport also has an in depth look at the metaverse in Metaverses – A Brave New World for Sports Brands? “Metaverses are environments, ecosystems and communities existing only in a digital form.”
- IndyCar is continuing their search for that elusive third engine partner. “Multiple sources have told RACER that while Toyota has not said no to joining the NTT IndyCar Series in the future, it’s not prepared to move forward with an engine program in the coming years.” (Racer)
- The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is waiving all track sanctioning fees for the 2023 racing season. For those looking to renew their current agreements or new tracks looking to join the International Hot Rod Association, e-mail LJeffers@ihra.com. As of this writing, in the last week Wilkesboro Dragway and Ozark Raceway Park have both signed with the sanctioning body. (Straight Line News Magazine)
- NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance (RTA) have enlisted Evolution Media Capital (EMC) and Wasserman ahead of negotiations for the American stock car racing series’ next domestic TV rights deal, according to Blackbook Motorsport. “The decision to retain consultants comes ahead of Nascar’s formal media rights talks beginning next year. The series’ current TV deals with NBC and Fox end in 2024. Teams are reportedly looking for a greater portion of the next TV rights fee, for which they currently receive a 25 per cent share. In addition, 65 per cent goes to the tracks and ten per cent to the sanctioning body.”
- According to Ford CEO Jim Farley the new Mustang racing program Can Pull Off Something That’s Never Been Done. “With the reveal of the seventh-generation Ford Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show Wednesday, Ford CEO Jim Farley told Road & Track in an exclusive phone interview that the company is planning a historically ambitious racing program, globally, from the get-go.” (Road & Track)
- So the Alex Palou vs Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) saga is now over, with Palou staying with CGR for 2023 but able to test in F1. As is usually the case in legal disputes, negotiation and/or arbitration is always better than going to court. Nobody can guarantee a win in a lawsuit. It is all about performing a cost/benefit analysis and then negotiating from that.
- NBC Sports’ 2022 coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series delivered the most-watched IndyCar season since 2016 and was the group’s most-watched season on record, NBC reports, having improving on last year’s totals by 5 percent. (Racer)
- IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitor Frits van Eerd has been arrested as a suspect in a large-scale money laundering investigation by Dutch authorities. (Sportscar365)
Motorsport Sponsorship News
- The McLaren Formula One team have announced a multi-year partnership with whiskey label Jack Daniel’s that kicks in for the start of the 2023 season. “Jack Daniel’s branding will feature on the nose of McLaren’s cars next season, as well as on the driver’s overalls and pit crew helmets. The two parties will also host a variety of in-person events and hospitality programmes throughout the 2023 Formula One campaign, as well as activations at Jack Daniel’s retail outlets.” (Blackbook Motorsport)
- Red Bull Racing have announced a three-year sponsorship deal with sunglasses manufacturer Blenders Eyewear as well as a multi-year partnership with UK sportswear brand Castore. (Blackbook Motorsport)
- The Shell V-Power Racing Team has announced the extension of its major partnership deal with Pirtek. “A market-leading fluid transfer solutions company, Pirtek will continue supporting the squad on a multi-year agreement.” (Speed Cafe)
- WithU Energy, title sponsor of the WithU RNF Yamaha team, has announced that it will not continue with the squad in 2023 as the outfit switches from Yamaha to Aprilia machinery. “Ballarin’s words should come as a warning to not just to other MotoGP teams but to series bosses Dorna, however. Marking the second major withdrawal of the year following the unexpected news that Suzuki’s factory efforts would also stop at the end of the season, the CEO’s comments on moving to other sports where he feels like a proper “role player” should be a red flag.” MotoGP managing director Carlos Ezpeleta is confident that RNF Racing will stay despite the WithU sponsor exit. (The Race & Blackbook Motorsport)
The Business of Running a Race Team
- HMD Motorsports is building towards a future IndyCar program. “With his upcoming expansion to field eight Indy Lights cars under the HMD Motorsports banner and a brand-new Indiana-based shop in the works, Henry Malukas says a move into the NTT IndyCar Series is the next step for the organization.” (Racer)
- Now that the Porsche-Red Bull marriage is not happening, Christian Horner believes that the Red Bull F1 Team Can Still ‘Achieve the Impossible’ without Porsche. “When you are building a power entity from scratch, with an OEM, what can they potentially bring to the party that we didn’t have access to,” Horner pondered. “I think, having done our due diligence, we felt that actually we were in good shape and with the recruitment we’ve made technically, we don’t feel at any disadvantage to our competitors.” (Autoweek)
- Porsche Penske Motorsport is in the process of building up two teams that will have the capability of operating “autonomously” according to the group’s managing director Jonathan Diuguid. “We’re building a team not only here in the U.S. but also in Mannheim,” said Penske. “On top of that we’re finishing our race shop in Mannheim, which should be finished in the next four to six weeks.” (Sportscar365)
- The McLaren Formula One team have worked with technology partner Dell to develop a new computational fluid dynamics (CFD) wind tunnel for this season. “In the development of the car, we just did a big piece of work to create a CFD wind tunnel. We call it a high performance cluster (HPC) computer. So, that [allows] more and more digital simulation of the car, which gives you more digital wind tunnel hours, which reduces the amount of time you need to spend in winter.” (Blackbook Motorsport)
- In the video above, the BMW M Hybrid V8 has taken its first steps. The new MBEDDED episode offers an exclusive look behind the scenes of the roll-out of the car, including all obstacles and emotions.
Motorsport Industry Events
- The Motorsport Engineering and Technology Show will be taking place on October 19-20, 2022 in the UK. You can register here.
- The 3rd Annual RACE INDUSTRY WEEK will be held online from Nov 28 – Dec 2, 2022. You can get all the details here.
Movers & Shakers
- The FIA has appointed Natalie Robyn to be the Federation’s first ever CEO. In this new role, she will be responsible for the successful operation and financial performance of an integrated and aligned FIA administration, as well as driving the overall strategy to deliver the leadership’s vision of reform the Federation.
- Manfred Döss has been unanimously elected as the new Chairman of the AUDI AG Supervisory Board. This means Döss is taking over the position from Herbert Diess, who resigned from the Supervisory Board on August 31, with immediate effect. Peter Mosch will remain Deputy Chairman. Döss will also become a Member and Chairman of the Presiding Committee as well as the Mediation Committee.
- The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin has announced Michael Kirschner as the senior vice president of strategy and business development. He will be dedicated to COTA’s revenue generating initiatives, including sponsorship, track rentals, and new business development. (Blackbook Motorsport)