Does Las Vegas really want F1? Sure Liberty Media, F1 Corporate and the FOM all say they do but the residents of Sin City seem to have gone from a wait and see attitude to outright hostile attitude regarding the race. This question is just part of the Business of Motorsport this week.
I also have more on the Andretti Global saga, the value of a title sponsorship in Formula 1 and a brand-new racetrack set to debut in the United States in 2024.
All this plus the latest sponsorship deals and partnership news as well as the latest global race team developments in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
To say that there have been disruptions to Las Vegas in the lead up to their inaugural Grand Prix is an understatement. Traffic chaos, trees chopped down, a local worker’s death, exorbitant hotel room costs, unsold corporate hospitality inventory and now residents of the strip tearing down the film on the pedestrian walkways to prevent views of the track are just some examples of what has been happening.
As this is the first race promoted by Liberty Media and the fact that they have invested so much in physical infrastructure make it highly unlikely that this will be a “one and done” situation, but they will need to approach year two taking in mind the mistakes and missteps that have been made in 2023. F1 officials have insisted that they are still eyeing a return in 2024 and Toto Wolff amongst others think there is a great future for the race, but I highly doubt that the image above is the one that Liberty wants to see become a meme.
While everyone involved has indicated they want the race to continue for 10 years, the actual race contract is only for three. If the disruptions caused to business as usual are more than what they are worth, it will be hard to see how the casinos will remain on board in the long term. We shall see how it all plays out, but the real test will be after the 2024 race when everybody has the opportunity to really assess whether the race is a help or a hindrance to Vegas. If it is a hindrance, don’t expect it to go the distance.
Sponsorship is the lifeblood of Formula 1 and has been so ever since Gold Leaf sponsored the Lotus Formula 1 team during the 1968 season. And just as we associate Gold Leaf with Lotus, BlackBook Motorsport reports that the business of Formula One title sponsorships often last far longer than the length of the contract but the environment from those early days is far more different today.
“It’s not as simple as agreeing a partnership and success following, though. Sponsors have never had more competition for audience attention as teams strive to maximise revenue and cover every inch of their cars in logos. To assess the current state of title sponsorships in Formula One, BlackBook Motorsport talks to Austin Schneider, director of business development at Sport Dimensions, Simon Hinchliffe, head of motorsport at Prism Sport & Entertainment, and Aled Rees, CSM Sport & Entertainment’s managing director of strategy and insights.“
The Money Lap’s Instagram page featured the above graphic which is quite interesting. Not only is F1 making inroads in the United States with the fans, it is also making serious inroads with American sponsors. “Even though they may not have incredible driver success, the USA has still played a pretty large sized role in Formula 1.”
As the Andretti Global saga in F1 drags on, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says Andretti-Cadillac could still go racing without Formula One Management approval or the associated prize money, but is hopeful it will not come to that. He also hopes FOM will say yes in the best interests of the sport.
“Anything can happen,” Ben Sulayem said. “I just hope they don’t say no because it is so good for business, so good to sustain motorsport.”
I mentioned a few weeks ago the whispers of Audi possibly having second thoughts about entering F1 in 2026 and a number of outlets have looked into the rumors and possibilities in depth. Here are two to consider.
- Main concern over Audi F1 entry isn’t unthinkable quit rumour (The Race)
- Audi F1 chief denies latest exit speculation and commits to 2026 entry (Planet F1)
BlackBook Motorsport reports that the Mexican Grand Prix achieved the highest audience for the event on ESPN in United States. The 2023 race attracted an audience of 1.46m, the most since it returned to schedule in 2015. The full telecast, which includes the pre-race show, averaged 1.08 million viewers, another event record and the race audience peaked at 1.94 million viewers.
General Motorsport Industry News
A new motorsports facility due to open in Tennessee in 2024 will feature a 30-degree banked corner as part of its 5.9-mile 34-turn layout. The Flatrock Motorsports Park, designed by famed F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke, will feature a 3.5-mile private members ‘Club’ circuit and it will also have a 2.67-mile track certified for FIM competitions and to FIA Grade 2 standard for motorsport.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Hero MotoSports acquires Monster Energy backing (The Checkered Flag)
- BRSCC Partners With Finsport to Lead Renault Cup Series In 2024 (BRSCC)
- Formula E appoints Whisper for new-look and expanded broadcast coverage (Formula E)
- Porsche and Yokohama expand relationship into Carrera Cup North America (Porsche)
- DAZN to exclusively broadcast F1 in Spain as part of new partnership with Formula 1 (Formula 1)
- MXGP extends Monster Energy primary partnership (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Aggreko Named Official Temporary Power Partner of The Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix (LVGP)
- IndyCar names Sonsio as title sponsor of Indy road course event (BlackBook Motorsport)
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- McElrea Targeting Expansion to Four-Car Effort in 2024 (Sportscar365)
- MDK Motorsports, High Class Racing Form 2024 Alliance For IMSA & Asian LMS (Daily Sportscar)
- Tony Stewart On How NHRA, NASCAR Team Ownership Is The Same, But Different (Forbes)
- Antron Brown And Ron Capps Enjoying NHRA Team Ownership Together (Forbes)
- Ferrari open to supporting third 499P Hypercar in WEC (Racer)
- Tickford looking outside of motorsport for new CEO (Speed Cafe)
- Does Vanwall still have a place in WEC amid manufacturer influx? (Autosport)
- Understanding the approach of IndyCar’s newest junior team (Formula Scout)
- Christian Horner Says Red Bull Racing Is The Strongest It’s Ever Been (Forbes)
- Hendrick Motorsports Culture, And Chase Elliott, Keep Sponsors Happy (Forbes)
- Audi chasing WEC return with Sainteloc (Racer)
- Restart Racing confirms 2024 TCR UK return in expanded program (TCR UK)
- Hertz Team JOTA Moving Out of Learning Phase (Sportscar365)