There are a lot of developments in the Business of Motorsport again this week. I have a look at the newly released Gen3 Formula E car and the effect that Mercedes leaving the series has had on Formula E plus details of the Vancouver race cancellation, news on the effect that the Miami Grand Prix will have on the city, news of various new sponsorship deals both with teams and series and some peeks behind the garage doors with various racing teams and how they are facing the challenges that 2022 is throwing them.
Motorsport Industry News
- Formula E has unveiled their “fighter jet inspired” Gen3 race car in Monte Carlo ahead of the Monaco Eprix. “The key feature of the Gen3 machinery lies in its increased power capability, with a new-generation drive motor producing 350kW at the rear axle, and under regen conditions now co-exists with a front-mounted standard-supply 250kW motor, meaning that the car can produce 600kW of regenerative power.” I will have more details in tomorrow’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup.
- Speaking of Formula E, Front Office Sports has an informative article on how Mercedes’ departure reshaped Formula E. “Specifically, how was Formula E to square the fact that Mercedes, along with Audi and BMW who both announced their exits in December 2020, collectively announced $100 billion in spending toward consumer EV models at the end of last year, yet didn’t see a place for themselves in an electric-focused racing series?“
- This summer’s Formula E race event in Vancouver has been called off and postponed until 2023. “It was a decision made between the organizers and the City of Vancouver,” according to spokesperson Kirsten Mihailides. “The timeline and parameters for the event we’re not achievable.”
- Forbes looks at the recent two-Day Indianapolis 500 open test and argues that it showcases IndyCar’s surge in momentum. “Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske and IMS President Doug Boles have said ticket demand is the highest since the 100th Indianapolis 500 was sold-out in 2016. Although both believe this year’s ticket sales won’t reach the 2016 “sellout” level, the 2022 Indianapolis 500 will be the largest crowd since 2016 and much higher than the last time full capacity was allowed in 2019 before the COVID 19 pandemic.”
- While Indycar is growing and moving from strength to strength, racing legend Mario Andretti tells Autoweek that he does not think that a Drive to Survive series is what the series needs to attract fans. “It’s all about promotion, promotion, promotion,” the former F1, USAC and CART champion said. “This event has to be talked about in advance, and they’ve got to give reasons for it to create not just a race but an event.”
- Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix has dodged a last-minute injunction hearing against its inaugural race next month, securing the event for 2022 at least reports The Race. Melissa Pallett-Vasquez, a lawyer for the stadium, said the accusations of damage were “demonstrably false”.
- Front Office Sports looks at the impact the Miami Grand Prix will have on tourism in the city. There have been a reported 250,000 ticket requests for the Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium, which has a capacity of 80,000. Around 300,000 people are expected to come to the area, whether or not they end up attending the race or the preceding tests and time trials.
- Enjoy an excellent talk that McLaren Formula 1 CEO Zak Brown had recently when he appeared before the Oxford Union in the video above.
- In It’s All About Timing, Drive Sports Marketing explores the commercial relationship between Formula 1 and watch brands.
- As F1 teams struggle to come to grips with weight issues, it was no surprise when Williams F1 announced that they were reverting to pure, unpainted carbon on parts of their race cars. But in an article in The Race, former Williams commercial and marketing figure Jim Wright feels this to be a grave mistake that is compromising the team’s commercial lifeblood.
- The W Series has secured a three-year Sky Sports broadcast deal according to Autosport. All 10 qualifying sessions and races, taking place across eight Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends, will be broadcast live by Sky.
- Motorsport Australia and WSC Ltd have agreed to a further five-year extension of the TCR rights in Australia. “Motorsport Australia remains the rights holder for the category in Australia, with the Australian Racing Group (ARG) currently holding a separate Commercial Rights Agreement with Motorsport Australia to run and promote the category down under as the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.”
- Nascar’s Stewart-Haas Racing has stated that the U.S. jobs boom has pushed team hiring into high gear. “Stewart-Haas Racing historically has had an extremely low turnover rate, but yes, there has been more attrition over the past 12 months,” he said. “Employee turnover rates have been on the rise across many sectors, so I don’t, by any means, think it is isolated to the NASCAR niche.”
- While there are plenty of new tracks either being opened or refurbished, sadly there are those that are closing. NHRA-affiliated Houston Raceway Park Is closing in 2022 and Autoweek explains why. And as I reported last week, despite some last minute attempts to prevent its closure, the owners of Palm Beach International Raceway have confirmed that the track is officially closing.
- In the latest edition of the Inside the SCCA podcast, host Brian Bielanski speaks with Formula SAE students Amani Ghonim and Jonathan Laifman as they talk about a number of topics including how SCCA regions and teams can find nearby Formula SAE teams and potentially bring some of those team members out to the track.
- Curious about the value of F1 driver contracts? Check out the graphic below from Motorsport.com for the details.
Motorsport Sponsorship News
- McLaren Racing have announced partnerships with Castore that now encompasses both their F1 and Indycar teams, and with Sanofi. The Indycar team is also celebrating the Silver Anniversary of their KECO partnership.
- The Alfa Romeo F1 team has partnered with Ciesse Piumini, Ferrari Trento as well as announcing a multi-year Path Network deal.
- Scuderia AlphaTauri have announced that Ziba Foods, a fast-growing, mission-led healthy nutrition brand will take up the branding inventory secured via FlexBox’s partnership with the Formula One team. “Given that Scuderia AlphaTauri is a globally known racing team which embodies a premium lifestyle-oriented ethos, I see them as a perfect platform to promote my latest endeavor with Ziba Foods,” said Henrik Nielsen, Founder of FlexBox and investor in Ziba Foods.
- Williams Racing have announced a multi-year agreement with Coral Eyewear as an official licensee, which will see Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon wearing Coral’s eyewear this season and the release of Williams Racing sunglasses. “Coral Eyewear frames are created using EcoNyl, pellets of recycled nylon created from regenerated ocean fishing nets and fabric scraps from landfill. 600,000 tonnes of fishing nets are thought to be abandoned in our oceans every year, with each net taking up to 600 years to break down.”
- Nascar’s Trackhouse Racing has signed a deal with Worldwide Express. The logistics company will serve as primary sponsor for 21 races across two cars during the next two seasons.
- Global cleaning experts, Kärcher, has extended its support of all-disabled Team BRIT, further backing its efforts to drive forward accessibility in motorsport. “James Gordon, Marketing Director at Kärcher GB & Ireland said “We’re delighted to be continuing our support for Team BRIT. We’re continually inspired by their passion and determination as well as the support they give to drivers to help them achieve their dreams. We can’t wait to see what they achieve in 2022 and will be cheering them on from Kärcher HQ.”
- The Extreme E series has announced a partnership with telecommunications firm Vodafone as well as extending their partnership with sustainability brand Polymateria, whose Lyfecycle technology aims to tackle global plastic pollution.
- IndyCar has extended their Tag Heuer partnership although no term details were released. The timepiece manufacturer will continue as the official watch, timepiece, chronograph, and smartwatch of the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
The Business of Running a Race Team
- Formula Scout has a great article on Italian team Oregon Team called The gang of self-titled pirates saving single-seater hopefuls’ careers. “The argument is that Oregon is more financially secure with a top driver, or one it can turn into a title-winning talent, and it makes sense given you’d expect to pay less in penalties and repair costs, and be spending engineering hours more efficiently.”
- Green Racing News reports that former Formula E team Abt plans to return to Formula E for the Gen3 Era. “We want to come back and if we can, it would be for the start of Gen3. Talks are ongoing, but we have strong relationships with Formula E and some manufacturers for a possible powertrain supply, Biermaier told The Race.
- A sign of things to come? Falken Motorsports had to withdraw from NLS3 due to a lack of tires. Sportscar365 reports that “both of Falken Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R entries were withdrawn from Saturday’s Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie round due to lack of tires because of supply chain issues.”
- Speed Cafe looks at the young gun calling the shots at PremiAir Racing. “PremiAir owner Peter Xiberras suggested some might raise their eyebrows at Ensor’s appointment as team manager, but the 29-year-old was the on-the-ground leader when the start-up squad grabbed the first three top 10 finishes of its young history at Albert Park this month.“
- Professional Motorsport World looks at the secrets of car preparation as penned by Walter ‘Wally’ Hassan in Earl Howe’s book titled simply Motor Racing. “The preparation of a car for racing is largely a matter of compromise, as is, for that matter, all engineering. It is always a case of making the best use of the materials and time at hand, and bound up with this is the unfortunate problem of finance. How few people realize the cost of labor until they receive their account!“
- Bryan Herta tells Sportscar365 that Bryan Herta Autosport is now at the “size and scale” of a top-flight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship effort. “Even though we’re running TCR cars, our team is really now at a size and scale that’s on par with some of the bigger WeatherTech [Championship] teams,” said Herta.
- Racer.com has a new series by Jeremy Shaw tracking called the Road to Indy Talent Watch and recently he turned his eyes to Turn 3 Motorsport. “Turn 3 Motorsport is relatively new to the scene, but has already made its mark and seems destined to adds its name to the roster of powerhouse teams.”
- Road & Track looks at The AI Startup That’s Disrupting NASCAR Race Strategy. “I met a group of guys that all had PhDs from MIT. And they wanted to do predictive analytics for motorsports,” Browne said. As a former chief engineer at Red Bull’s short-lived NASCAR team and an academic himself, he was the perfect man for the project.”