It’s boom times for Formula 1 sponsorship according to an article I link to by Grand Prix 247 in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport. They do a deep dive into the width and breadth of Formula 1 sponsorship and explain how F1’s global boom is making teams richer.
In addition to F1 sponsorship news I have all the latest motorsport deals and partnerships, positive developments for NASCAR and IMSA, how Emil Frey Racing’s shift to Ferrari is all part of their corporate marketing plan, and a feature on Roger Penske.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport on Motorsport Prospects.
Motorsport Industry News
And so it begins. The official launch of the expressions of interest for those wanting to race in F1 has begun. While Panthera have reaffirmed their interest in joining the grid, Gunther Steiner has been vocal in warning against expanding to more teams, while Formula 1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali has been warning Michael Andretti about his very vocal F1 push.
While Maury Brown explains how Oracle Red Bull Racing walked away from Porsche and Ford stepped in, the American manufacturer has warned that there will not be a bottomless pit of money for the Red Bull F1 project. Meanwhile, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali teases the prospect of further new manufacturers coming to F1. “And now we are in a situation where two very important manufacturers [Audi and Ford] are joining, maybe some others. I don’t want to say anything, but maybe, you never know, and this is great.”
If you thought I could go through a Business of Motorsport column without mentioning the FIA/Liberty wars, you would be sadly mistaken. Stefano Domenicali has downplayed the storm that was apparently brewing between F1 and the FIA according to the media. “And there’s no secret to say that the key of success of sport is to have everyone doing his own job and making sure that we do it in the right way for the benefit of the growth of the sport. Any kind of personalism, any kind of thing that is not helpful for that, doesn’t make any need to comment because, as I said, we have all the interest to make sure that our sport is growing.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Just days before NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500, the racing series announced a complete sellout of Sunday’s race and according to Front Office Sports, they are looking to build on the momentum. “With the strong showing at the venue, the Daytona 500 hopes the trend of broadcast eyeballs continues to improve. After significant drops in viewership in 2020 and 2021 due to delays and shortened races, 2022 saw a rise of 8.9 million viewers after seeing 4.8 million in 2021.”
Another series that saw a strong debut to 2023 at Daytona was IMSA. For the Rolex 24 At Daytona event, Daytona International Speedway reported an all-time attendance record. The increase in at-track attendance was visible for all to see, but at the same time there was a significant increase in television viewership as well. NBC Sports reported that viewership was up 28 percent over the 2022 audience with an average of 360,000 TV-only viewers for the NBC and USA Network telecasts. All five TV windows on those two networks were up over the year before, with a peak viewership of 1.2 million.
“Our audience metrics from the Rolex 24 match what many of us saw with our own eyes,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “We believed that the introduction of our new, hybrid-powered GTP class would resonate with race fans, and these metrics proved it to be a resounding success. We couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of our IMSA and Daytona International Speedway teammates, the significant activation from many of our official automotive partners, and the tremendous on-track competition provided by our teams and drivers. We have substantial momentum that we expect to continue into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring next month and throughout the 2023 IMSA season.”
Despite the positive momentum in sportscars, Ford have stated that they will not go prototype racing any time soon. “As Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook told Motor Trend, the brand sees its previously-announced Mustang GT3 factory program as a sort of adequate replacement for a top-level factory sports car program. Rushbrook claims that he sees IMSA’s GTD class and GT cars in general as “what’s cool in the world.” While that may be an odd claim in an era where class stalwarts GM, Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, and Acura have all shifted their primary focus to prototype racing, it does fit with Ford’s current performance push built primarily around the Mustang brand. In addition to the new GT3 program, next-generation Mustangs will also go racing in NASCAR, GT4, drag racing, and Australian Supercars.”
With last weekend’s Formula E race in Hyderabad being described as the biggest motoring event to have happened in India in a decade and a MotoGP race in the wings, is India poised for a motorsport surge? That is the hope of FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem who made it clear that increasing the popularity of motorsport in India was part of the platform that got him elected. “In my manifesto, I had mentioned how important India is. Not because I am here, not because I am the president,” Ben Sulayem told Autocar India while in the country for the Formula E race. How about a retunr of the Indian Grand Prix? “Of course it can come back… The opportunity is there and I have to break these barriers to ensure it happens. The FIA is for all the members.“
US open wheel series IndyCar is set to increase its overall spend on marketing to ‘US$17 million’ for the 2023 season. Roger Penske: “It’s a very comprehensive marketing and PR program that is being put together this year as we head into [St. Petersburg] to begin the season on 5th March,” Penske told NBC Sports. “We’ll be up over 60 per cent in spend, and US$17 million of that will be going into our marketing effort. A big piece of that will be spent early on.”
Porsche has been working with its initial LMDh customer teams to get them up to speed with the car and new systems according to Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach. The German manufacturer plans to deliver four Porsche 963s to the privateer teams by late April, with JDC-Miller Motorsports, JOTA and Proton Competition all targeting race debuts by the first half of this year.
“We’re trying to give them as much information as we can,” Laudenbach told Sportscar365. “We have invited them to tests, we invited them to support the build up of the cars. We are trying to give them everything to learn about the program about the car before they have it to bring them up to speed as soon as they have it. It’s not easy at all because we are running our [factory] program but we’re really trying to keep them in the loop. We’re in constant communication with them and we provide everything we have to them.”
Lamborghini is expanding its North American motorsport headquarters with a new facility where the LMDh manufacturer’s GTP program with Iron Lynx will be housed. The two organizations are developing the new site into a regional hub for their transatlantic LMDh project. It is situated close to Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s facility in Detroit, which is the focal point for the manufacturer’s U.S.-based racing activities. Once finished, the building will also contain the American arm of Iron Lynx’s Lamborghini GT3 program.
Huge audiences in Australia and around the world have consumed the 2023 running of the LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour according to organizers. A national TV audience of over 334,000 consumed the entire race on Sunday, including 239,000 watching on the Seven Network. Seven’s broadcast alone reached more than 1.7 million people on Sunday, a 17% increase year on year. Meanwhile, Fox Sports recorded a more than 40% increase on their coverage of the 2020 race – the last held on the traditional February date.
PRI.com profiles late-model specialist Van Doorn Racing Development. “Founded on the independent spirit of brothers John and Butch VanDoorn, this late-model specialist has run the short track to success with race-winning engineering, quick turnaround times, and outstanding customer service—and by nurturing that same creative independence in its employees.”
After a decade of inactivity, Motorsports Management International (MMI) is being relaunched to “provide best-in-class services to professional race car drivers across the country. With a historic legacy dating back over three decades, MMI has represented some of the best talent across North American motorsports including Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Aric Almirola.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis from this past week (with one exception that is from 2022).
- Boom times for Formula 1 sponsorship
- The Added Value for F1 Sponsors in Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’
- MoneyGram Haas F1 Team and Chipotle Mexican Grill announce new partnership
- Formula E And Tata Communications Announce Multi-Year Collaboration
- Andretti XE becomes Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E for 2023
- F1 joins forces with UNICEF to help educate millions of vulnerable children and bolster emergency response
- Andretti Autosport Announces Partnership with Equipment Controls Company for 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone and NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season
- Red Bull Racing Picks Up Luggage Partner
- Mercedes F1 team pens multi-year Nuvei uniform deal
- Ferrari tie up Bang & Olufsen deal
- Nascar signs partnership with Powerball
- Mercedes F1 team signs on with Qualcomm and G42
- Mercedes F1 Team Turns to AI For Marginal Gains
- NHRA signs OTT deal with Endeavor Streaming
- MotoGP expands Viaplay broadcast deal with six-year Nordic renewal
- Nascar 2023 commercial guide: Every team, every sponsor, all the major TV deals
- NASCAR races into 75th anniversary season with 51 partners
- BWT Alpine F1 Team partners with Ecowatt
- INDYCAR’s Global Broadcast Reach Expands in 2023
- British F4 Cars Powered by Motul Again In 2023
- Rokit Continues as Title Sponsor For 2023 Rokit F4 British Championship
- Aston Martin Appoints Havas
- NXT Gen Cup announces Hankook as exclusive tyre supplier
- Ecopol, Official Partner to the Scuderia and the Ferrari
- Krone Joins Goodyear FIA ETRC as Official Partner
The Business of Running a Race Team
Paretta Autosport team owner Beth Paretta wants nothing more than to finalize her plans for the upcoming NTT IndyCar Series season, but as she’s found since the women-led team made its debut in 2021, very few things happen swiftly or with ease according to Racer.com. Paretta aims to work with Carpenter again in the future, but due to a change in staffing availability, continuing the program with ECR in 2023 is not on the cards. Owing to her strong support from and allegiance to General Motors and Chevrolet, developing a new partnership with a Chevy-powered team is Paretta’s first priority.
BTC Racing has announced that it will rebrand ahead of the 2023 season as a result of a merger with the Motus One operation headed by former Team HARD driver Will Powell. The newly formed operation – which will continue to be headed by Steve Dudman with Powell in the role of commercial and marketing director – will compete under the One Motorsport banner and will continue to run a multi-car programme in the BTCC, with the first drivers set to be revealed later this week. The team will also operate customer racing programmes in the British GT Championship, British Endurance series and McLaren Trophy.
Emil Frey Racing’s decision to switch GT3 manufacturers from Lamborghini to Ferrari was driven “purely on marketing” reasons, according to team principal Lorenz-Frey Hilti. “By the end of last year, in October, we had started the collaboration with Ferrari in Munich,” Frey-Hilti told Sportscar365. “We can represent the brand as a car dealer. This was always a bit difficult [before] as we have never been a Lamborghini dealer anywhere in our regions. We have some dealerships for Volkswagen Group, the mother of Lamborghini, but we didn’t sell the brand. We always ran with brands we represent, like Lexus and Jaguar. Then, with Ferrari, when we started to work together, the point of racing also came up as a topic.”
Motorsport Week reports that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing realized last year that they were missing a key component that other teams such as McLaren were bringing to the table to bolster their IndyCar performance. “They filled that hole his offseason by hiring Stefano Sordo into a newly-created technical director role within the team. The hope is that his direction will allow RLL, which only expanded to three full time cars last season, to be on a more level playing field with the other big teams in the paddock.”
Checkered Flag reports that FRS Racing has been formed and will race part-time in the Xfinity series in 2023. “After working for NASCAR Xfinity Series team Brandonbilt Motorsports as technical director, Collin Fern will become a team owner in 2023. FRS Racing‘s #96 Chevrolet Camaro will make its début at Richmond Raceway on 1 April, though the team has not immediately announced a driver.”
A newly formed team under the Pescarolo Sport banner has signaled intentions of competing in the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship with a customer Peugeot 9X8. The French organization, owned by Jocelyn Pedrono, acquired the naming rights to the legendary sports car racing team in 2016. Henri Pescarolo is understood to not be involved with this project.
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Hagerty has posted a great profile of Roger Penske called At 85, Roger Penske just can’t stop that is well worth a read about this motorsport and business legend. “Racing helps sell cars. And the way it sells cars is that people are enthusiastic about racing and they want to see winners. That’s why Porsche is entered, and why the Ferrari brand is so strong. You think that if Ferrari wasn’t in racing that they’d have the credibility they do today? You come to Indy or Daytona and you have 200,000 or 300,000 people, and it’s a social event. At Indy, I call it a generational fan base because nobody wants to give up their tickets, they just pass them down.”
Females in Motorsport talks to F1 presenter and content creator Lissie Mackintosh about labels, the role of content creators, and talking about F1. “A true mover-and-shaker in the industry, Lissie is considered one of the first F1 content creators in an area that’s quickly becoming increasingly popular. She began over a year and a half ago with an F1 news round-up, a format that is now her signature video series, and gradually built an audience and community that focused on F1 in a not-so-serious way.”