Details have started to emerge about the new F1 team hopefuls that have expressed their interest in joining the Formula 1 grid in 2026 and this week I have the details.
In addition to new F1 teams, I also look at motorsport topics as far ranging as why the NHRA is feeling optimistic about 2023, the conundrum facing Formula E, an impressive new racetrack proposal for New Jersey, a brilliant NASCAR Xfinity sponsorship deal and the women behind the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
I also have the latest motorsport sponsorship deals and partnerships, behind the scenes at ERA Motorsport, why AlphaTauri may change their name and much more.
All this in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
And then there were four. A fourth candidate team has been announced that is looking to be on the F1 grid in 2026. Headed by former BAR Team Principal Craig Pollock with reputed Middle East (Saudi Arabia) backing, the team intends to field a gender equal team. “Our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports,” said Pollock. “The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula 1 team, 50% male, 50% female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula 1 team; it’s a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.” You can read more details of the planned team in the articles below.
- More details confirmed on Gulf-backed F1 team
- Equal-gender racing team plots F1 entry in 2026
- All About Another New Team (Plan)
While Formula Equal was revealed to the world, plans are advancing with the other three known candidates. Racing News365 reveals the plans for a new British-based F1 team being planned by Hitech GP’s Oliver Oakes known mysteriously as H26. “What these sources collectively shared with RacingNews365 about progress made to date by what is code-named H26 is nothing short of astonishing.”
Meanwhile, Panthera Team Asia is still in the picture and Total Motorsport looks at who is behind the project. “We still think that the Asian market and Chinese market are the next markets to be developed,” former SMP Racing managing director Benjamin Durand said to PlanetF1 in January. “They are all looking west, nobody’s looking east. Now F1 is focusing a lot on the US, which is normal because it’s growing, but once the market is there, Asia and Africa are the next big market.”
Speaking of the US, Michael Andretti is still methodically working away at putting together the people who will be instrumental in his new F1 candidate team and he has recently filled two senior roles. “It has now emerged that Andretti has recruited John McQuilliam as chief designer and Jon Tomlinson as its head of aerodynamics.”
One team that is guaranteed to be on the F1 grid in 2026 is Audi and they recently revealed their stance on supplying customer engines as they ramp up operations. “We can’t rule out supplying a customer team as we may be required to do so by the regulations,” Audi Formula Racing GmbH CEO Adam Baker told PlanetF1.com. “But with six manufacturers now being registered for 2026, statistically the chances of that happening are small. We’re not currently actively seeking a customer. Our focus is on our works partnership with Sauber.”
Spurned manufacturer Porsche meanwhile has officially confirmed that they will not be on the grid in 2026 and their F1 plans are on hold. “Motorsport will always be at the core of our brand identity,” said a statement from the company. “Formula 1 remains an interesting racing series for us.” But with it currently committed to racing in WEC and IMSA, as well as FE, Porsche added about its other activities: “There, we want to fight for overall victories. That’s our tradition and our main focus.”
The Race asks, could F1 have done more to avert Porsche snub? “To a point but ultimately F1 couldn’t have done any more,” Scott Mitchell-Malm said on The Race F1 Podcast when asked if F1 should be disappointed by Porsche’s snub. “It would have looked a lot worse if there had been some action from F1 or people within F1 who had rudely slammed the door in Porsche’s face – that would have been a lot worse than what happened.
With all the interest by countries and cities in hosting an F1 race, often from outside its traditional home of Europe, it should come as no surprise that European cities are also clamoring to join in on the fun. Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali confirmed that Spain’s capital city Madrid is working to host a grand prix in the future. “They are working to bring a race [to Madrid],” Domenicali told Marca, “and F1 is delighted to have so many contenders because it is becoming more and more popular all over the world, we know the passion in Spain, I have worked with Fernando and I know him well.”
One country that is firmly part of the F1 calendar for the next 10 years is Saudi Arabia and the controversial host explains that they are not put off by their F1 critics. “We want everyone to speak up their mind, and we have nothing against anybody’s opinion,” he said. “But as we respect their opinion, we ask them as well, to respect our culture. We’re not trying to force or stop Hamilton from saying what he wants to say, or wearing what he wants to wear.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Damien Smith in Motorsport Magazine looks at the enigma that is Formula E in Formula E now has better racing than F1, but will anyone notice? “What a shame, then, that so few people – at least in stark contrast to the multi-millions that follow F1 – will even care to notice. Perhaps for the first time, I feel confident enough to say they’re all actually missing something. Formula E, finally, is coming of age.”
NHRA President Glen Cromwell explains why he has reasons to be excited about the series’ future. “I think things are in a really good place,” Cromwell said. “I’ve been here for 25 years, and this is probably the most excited I’ve been at the start of a season. I give credit to the NHRA racing community.”
If the article above got you excited about drag racing, then you might want to consider this 1/4-Mile Alabama dragstrip that is for sale. The 1/4-mile drag racing facility is on the market with Wills Property Group at an asking price of $4.25 million. Situated on 138 acres and with ample capability for grassroots and outlaw door-car racing, Capital City most notably hosted the famed Million Dollar Drag Race from 2011-2020, and again in 2022.
With the Chevy Camaro being discontinued next year, Supercars has affirmed that it will be racing in that series for the next three years regardless. But what about NASCAR? “Chevy will be able to race the Camaro for the foreseeable future. NASCAR confirmed this week that according to its rules because the Camaro was a production vehicle at the time of its original submission, it remains qualified to race in Cup and Xfinity even beyond 2024 if Chevrolet chooses to do so.”
The FIA has expressed disappointment at the decision by Discovery Sports Events to step down as promoter of ETCR ahead of the 2023 season. “The FIA is disappointed by the decision of Discovery Sports Events to step down as the promoter of FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup in 2023,” a brief statement issued by the governing body to TouringCarTimes read. “More information will be made available in due course.”
Sports Business Journal looks at how MotoGP looks to rebound from lower viewership in 2022. “The MotoGP season got underway on CNBC this afternoon with the Portuguese Grand Prix. SBJ’s Austin Karp notes races on NBC and CNBC last season averaged 162,000 viewers, down from 194,000 in 2021 (NBC/NBCSN), but above the 159,000 in 2020 (NBC/NBCSN). NBC Sports’ top MotoGP audience since acquiring rights three years ago was the 2021 Dutch GP on NBC (617,000). At No. 2 is last season’s Valencia GP on NBC (603,000).”
A developer’s plan to build a $2.7 billion Formula 1-style racetrack, housing, and shopping complex on the site of a former airport in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was unanimously approved by its city council last week. The plan, which would involve landfilling parts of the city’s back bay and converting the former airfield into the track, would take six to nine years to complete.
“Details of the developer’s ambitious plan were reported by NJ.com and would ask the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare the site for construction. From there, a 2.5-mile track would be built, along with over 1,000 units of housing, 234,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and several parking garages. The developer, DEEM Enterprises LLC, says residents won’t be bothered by the racing because it will be mostly electric cars competing there. Bullet dodged.”
Motorsport Australia affiliated South Australian clubs now have access to funding grants from the South Australian State Government. Both four-wheel and two-wheel clubs can apply for the funding, as part of the government’s SA Car Club Program, with applications closing at 12pm on 24 April.
Grants to the value of $500,000 will be available in each year of the SA Car Club Program. This funding will support local car and motorcycle clubs across South Australia, so they can better meet their growing operating costs, including managing the conditional registration scheme.
Motorsport Australia is ready to assist clubs interested in applying for grants through its helpful grant writing support offering. Click here to register your interest.
The Mildura Rural City Council is planning to enhance the Mildura region’s reputation in motorsport by developing a Regional Motorsport Strategy. The simple goal of the strategy is to turn Mildura into a motorsport hub by working alongside Sunraysia region-based car clubs and groups. The idea for a strategy followed a comprehensive review of motorsport in the region in 2022, which assessed the needs, wants and priorities of motorsport clubs within the Sunraysia and Mildura area.
A fire at Hankook’s Daejeon plant in South Korea has put the tire manufacturer’s ability to supply rubber this year for several single-seater series at risk. “Hankook has notified the series that will be impacted, which in junior single-seaters includes the Formula 3-level Euroformula and Super Formula Lights, Formula Regional Americas, the new FRegional-based Eurocup-3 series and the Spanish and United States Formula 4 championships.”
LawInSport has released their LawInSport Yearbook 2022 covering the following topics:
- Competition Law
- Commercial Law
- Employment Law
- Equality & Discrimination
- Media Rights
- Sports Integrity – Betting And Financial Corruption
- Disputes And Disciplinary Procedures
- Safety And Participation
Full details can be found here.
Facing a ban in the United States, Front Office Sports looks at the effect on sports that a ban on TikTok could possibly have. “TikTok saw the largest growth among major social platforms last year in sports-related engagement. The platform’s sports activity grew 65% from 2021 to 2022, compared to 22% for Facebook and 8% for Twitter.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
It is always fun when a sponsorship activation comes along that brilliantly plays off a recent, often controversial event. This happened recently in wake of Josh Williams parking on the start/finish line at a recent NASCAR Xfinity stock car race. In light of his unprecedented action on track, he has attracted sponsorship from none other than Parking Guidance Systems, a technology company that offers electronic parking solutions. Brilliant.
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Williams Racing pen crypto partnership with Kraken
- McLaren F1 team signs multi-year partnership with Workday
- Brembo agrees deal to have MotoGP broadcast presence
- Skip Barber Racing School becomes Official Racing School of Andretti Autosport
- Southwire named title sponsor of first Formula E race in Portland
- Red Bull Extends with Digital Screen Partner
- Hyundai Becomes Official and Exclusive Automotive Partner of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
- The 2023 Accord Hybrid named the presenting sponsor of The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio weekend
- NTT, NTT DATA, IndyCar Extend Entitlement Partnership
- F1’s Australian GP lands broad Optus marketing deal
- MotoGP agrees Tissot title sponsorship for new sprint events
- MotoGP Indian rights scooped up by Viacom18
- Audi Sport is Ducati’s partner in MotoGP
- Ignition continue as Official Business Performance Partner to Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport
- Right Formula Grows Global Presence with U.S. Expansion
- McLaren Expands Crypto Relationship
- Quaker State becomes new partner of Trackhouse Racing, renews with Atlanta racetrack
- BWT Alpine F1 Team partners with The Venetian Resort for 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix
The Business of Running a Race Team
Red Bull racing’s Christian Horner has revealed that a rival F1 team tried to steal Red Bull sponsors away amid its cost cap row. “It tainted us,” Horner told the i newspaper. “These things get used by your rivals. We had one of them contacting our sponsors and partners making suggestions that we would be bringing their brands into disrepute. That was just underhand.”
Meanwhile in the other Red Bull owned F1 team, Helmut Marko insists that AlphaTauri are not for sale, but that does not mean changes won’t be made. “It is something we are reconsidering,” he replies when asked about the future of the name of the team. “It is logical too. The branding of AlphaTauri has been scaled back somewhat, because only in a few countries where we race, AlphaTauri is actually sold. It is about three to four countries only. The task is simple. More money must be brought in and results improved.”
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Courtesy of contributor Vincenzo Landino, in the column below he looks at the three women behind the scenes that are putting together the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. You can find more analysis and content like this in his newsletter www.readqualifier.com.
In 2017, Liberty Media acquired Formula 1, laying the foundation for a global phenomenon. Today, the buzz around F1 is through the roof thanks to events like the F1 Miami Grand Prix, Singapore GP Pte Ltd, and the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc., sending cars flying down the Strip.
Meet the women helping bring this event to life.
LVGP CEO Renee Wilm, former Baker Botts senior partner, joined Liberty Media in September 2019 as chief legal and administrative officer. She became Las Vegas Grand Prix CEO on Aug. 31.
As the GP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Emily Prazer relocated from the United Kingdom to Las Vegas.
They are tasked with making the inaugural race a hit together and under immense pressure.
The economic impact of this race is astounding, with an estimated $1.3 billion, that’s more than double the impact of Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. It’s expected to bring in $966 million in visitor spending and $316 million in event operations and support. With ticket demands at an all-time high, the Paddock Club, priced at $15,000 per person, is sold out, with more tickets rolling out soon.
Silvia Bellot, a legendary ambassador for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile‘s Women Program, will oversee race operations.
As women in the male-dominated motorsports industry, Wilm, Prazer, and Bellot, are on a mission to create unforgettable fan experiences and anticipation for year two.
Continuing with the management of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Renee Wilm, chief legal officer and chief administrative officer of Liberty Media, and CEO of Las Vegas Grand Prix Inc. has written a guest column for Sportico which explains how she sees her role, the impact of the race on Las Vegas and F1 as a whole and how she thrives as a woman in a male dominated industry.
“Growing up in mergers and acquisitions at a BigLaw firm, I was quite accustomed to being the only woman in the room. Rather than feel out of place, I saw my unique situation as an advantage. Women are often good listeners, which can be misconstrued as a lack of presence, particularly in a boardroom. On the contrary, I believe it is a strength that allows us to be more impactful with our words—especially when those words are delivered with confidence and conviction. I have mentored many women over the years to have a voice and feel empowered to share their ideas and opinions. As I write this, during Women’s History Month, I could not be prouder to be a role model to girls who are looking to start a career in sports.”
Extreme E has announced two additions to their management team. Nic Makepeace has been appointed as Senior Digital Lead and Kris Reid has been appointed as the new Head of Marketing.
Laura Wontrop Klauser, Sports Car Racing Program Manager, tells the Own Your Potential Podcast about how her love of cars from childhood and experience in amateur motorsports during college unlocked her passion for automotive engineering and ultimately opening the door to a career in sports car racing with iconic nameplates like the Corvette and Camaro, and how she has harnessed her super power of collaboration for accelerated success as an engineer and leader. You can listen here.
Paul Asencio is departing the UFC and taking the role as CRO for the Williams F1 team according to the Sports Business Journal. “If you needed further confirmation of F1’s continuing ascendancy in the U.S. sporting landscape, consider this: Industry sources tell me that UFC sponsorship chief Paul Asencio is leaving the MMA circuit after 5 ½ years to become CRO of the Williams Racing F1 team, starting next month.”
In part two of her series of articles on topics such as performance, workplace inclusivity and diversity, and other issues and causes close to my heart, Claire Williams looks at how to create policies to support women in the workplace. You can read her first column in last week’s Business of Motorsport Roundup. “This work was, and is, so important to me and these kinds of policies and networks are something that all businesses can look to implement to create a more inclusive environment for women in the workplace.”
The AlphaTauri Formula 1 team has signed marketing expert Lars Stegelmann as its new head of commercial, a new position within the Faenza-based squad. Stegelmann will be responsible for the ‘Global Partnership Acquisition’ at the team and its fashion branch.