While the title of this week’s column is F1 Rolls Big on Vegas Grand Prix, this is anything but a random toss of the dice. Liberty has thought this through and know what they are doing. While there have been issues and hiccups, it is the first race, so it is time to see how well the Liberty and the Las Vegas Grand Prix has conducted their business of motorsport.
This week I also bring you the thoughts of IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward on F1 and IndyCar competing, a review of the Professional MotorSport World Expo 2023 and car design legend Gordon Murray on what he learned from his years in F1.
All this plus a whole load of sponsorship deals and partnership news in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news that busy race drivers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is finally here so it is time for Liberty to put up or shut up. In the decades that I have been following F1, I have never seen a race being hyped like this, nor have I seen a race heaped with such derision. While Max Verstappen feels like a clown in Vegas out of the cockpit, Fernando Alonso reckons that no two laps will be the same on the ever-changing track so at the very least people will be tuning in. As for Verstappen’s feelings about the race, the Vegas promoter thinks that the “chippy” Verstappen may just be nervous.
Will the race be schmaltzy glitz, high-speed slip-streaming or a colossal bore? That is what everyone is curious to find out. While there has been traffic chaos, cost overruns, ticket and hotel prices veering wildly up and down and complaints from the locals, we must remember that this is the first year of a contracted 3 year race deal with county and state officials officially committed to a 10 year run. As I have said before, the race will only be able to be properly judged after the 2024 edition once some of these first year kinks are ironed out. I suspect that most of us are still trying to decide whether to watch live or on replay given the weird timing of qualifying and the race.
All that being said, here is a nice roundup of articles looking at the Las Vegas Grand Prix that are trying to make sense of it all.
- ‘We’ve been trying to survive’: The story of how the Las Vegas GP became F1’s biggest challenge (BlackBook Motorsport)
- F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Circuit: ‘It’s One Piece Art, One Piece Science, One Piece Magic’ (AutoWeek)
- The major risk F1’s $500m Las Vegas gamble represents (The Race)
- Formula 1 Isn’t Leaving Las Vegas Anytime Soon (Huddle Up)
- Why The Las Vegas Grand Prix Is Formula 1’s Biggest Bet Ever (Forbes)
- Why F1’s first Las Vegas grand prix was an utter failure — and a ‘lesson learned’ (The Athletic)
- Liberty Media CEO in apology to Las Vegas residents (RacingNews365)
- F1 must tackle “incredibly expensive” Vegas ticket prices – Leclerc (RaceFans)
- Mercedes F1 to debut Vegas Club hospitality at Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sports Business Journal)
- F1 leases Las Vegas Sphere and confirms weekend content (BlackBook Motorsport)
- F1’s divisive Vegas reality – Our view from the ground (The Race)
- Verdict: What makes or breaks a new F1 race like Vegas? (The Race)
How popular is Formula 1 in the United States? We keep hearing that since Drive to Survive, the sport is exploding in popularity and having three races is clearly testament to that but will it be a lasting popularity? Here are three articles looking at the phenomena of Formula 1 in the United States.
“I think what’s most exciting about it to me is that there’s just a lot of young people in the United States falling in love with the sport. And that’s very positive for the future of sport in America, when young people are really interested. So, I would expect that to continue.”
- Why F1 in America “feels different” now to previous eras (Autosport)
- Disney+ debuts new F1 doc as U.S. interest grows (Sports Business Journal)
- How Far Can F1 Go in the U.S.? (Wall Street Journal)
All the Las Vegas hype has slightly overshadowed the announcement that GM has committed to becoming an official F1 power unit supplier in 2028. The key part of the announcement was GM’s steadfast resolve to stick with Andretti Global for their F1 entry. This will no doubt boost the entry in the public and FIA’s mind but will it be enough to placate the FOM? The excuses from FOM are starting to wear thin, especially after this announcement.
A source has told PlanetF1.com that INEOS’ anticipated purchase of Manchester United “changes nothing” for the Mercedes Formula 1 team. “INEOS, headed by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, are one-third owners of the Silver Arrows along with team principal Toto Wolff and Daimler but they are expected to add another sporting venture to their portfolio with the 25 per cent purchase of Premier League club Manchester United.”
The Aston Martin Formula 1 team has sold a stake in its business to private equity firm Arctos Partners. Team owner Lawrence Stroll said: “I am delighted to welcome Arctos Partners as a new partner and minority shareholder in the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team. As investors in several leading sports franchises, Arctos brings deep industry knowledge, and I am thrilled that Aston Martin will be joining such a prestigious portfolio. The team has enjoyed tremendous success this season with eight podium finishes and our biggest points haul as a team, but our collective ambition is greater.”
Jalopnik has conducted an in-depth interview with LKYSUNZ CEO and co-founder Benjamin Durand who sheds light on LKYSUNZ’s goals for the future now that F1 has hedged its bets on Andretti.
“There is so much talent in those underrepresented communities,” Durand told Jalopnik. “Technicians and engineers from Southeast Asia — they don’t even look at motorsport because they don’t think they can have a future there. And Formula 1 always picks from the same pool of people.”
If you are a fan of Formula 1 history, you are no doubt excited about the new Brawn GP documentary on Disney+, but there is another motorsport documentary you should make some time to watch. The Andrea Moda team was a train wreck from the get go and as Glenn Freeman from The Race writes:
Andrea Moda was a shambolic F1 team that was in way over its head, operating on a shoestring budget as so many teams during the memorable ‘pre-qualifying’ era of F1 did.
Yet for all its failings, including a complete inability to ever field two cars that could run properly, and similar difficulties when it came to paying bills, somehow this ragtag team managed to qualify for a race – in Monaco, of all places.The other F1 underdog documentary you need to watch
It’s unfortunate that they could not go with the original title of the film which was “Last & Furious” as it would have been most appropriate.
You can rent to watch the film here.
General Motorsport Industry News
With all this talk about the popularity of F1 in the United States, one driver thinks that IndyCar need not compete against F1 but embrace it.
“IndyCar needs to embrace Formula 1 and not compete against it,” Pato O’Ward said in an interview with Jalopnik during a track day he hosted at Circuit of the Americas. “[Formula 1] is never going anywhere. It has invested astronomical numbers into the series and into making people feel like they’re part of something — but they did it by going to the biggest platforms. I don’t think [IndyCar] realizes how big the series can be if they just gave it more love,” O’Ward told Jalopnik. “They’re giving it love, but they need to multiply it four or five times.”
Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA) sold out its third annual Women with Drive III (WWD III) Summit – Driven by Mobil 1 last week at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Over 450 women and men from all disciplines of the motorsports industry came together for two full days of sessions with over 96 speakers, 58 sponsors and numerous award announcements.
The WIMNA SHEro Award, presented by Jostens, invited nominations of exceptional contributions by women in motorsports from tracks, race teams, and other organizations. Abigail Hempy, the 2023 SHEro award winner, is a powertrain engineer at NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. To learn more about the SHEroAward and Abigail Hempy, visit WomenInMotorsportsNA.com.
PMW Magazine has published a show review of their Professional MotorSport World Expo 2023 for those not able to attend.
Attendees, exhibitors, speakers and contributors gathered at the Koln Messe in Cologne, Germany, on November 8 and 9 for Professional MotorSport World Expo 2023. The event served as a platform for discussions on cutting-edge racing technology and featured an extensive display of motorsport-focused components, ranging from new sustainably fueled engines to high-performance chassis technology.
With more than 170 exhibitors, the expo once again facilitated networking and collaboration opportunities for some of the industry’s major players. The Technology Presentation Stage, featuring an impressive line-up of speakers, hosted numerous presentations and roundtable discussions, enhancing the overall experience for participants.Show review: Professional MotorSport World Expo 2023
Quick Takes on the Business of Motorsport This Week
- NASCAR sees first-year Fan Rewards success (Sports Business Journal)
- J. Douglas Boles: IMS races toward greater economic, civic impact (Indianapolis Business Journal)
- SRO Motorsports Australia Established, CEO Named (Daily Sportscar)
- Vincent teams with Lucas Oil School of Racing to create academy program for race crew (Racer)
- Hong Kong Race Points To World Rallycross Future Out Of The Flames (Forbes)
- Supercars announces Burgess exit (SpeedCafe)
- Supercars CEO talks 2024 calendar (SpeedCafe)
- WorldSBK records 593k attendance for 2023 (BlackBook Motorsport)
- SpeedSeries returning to free TV (SpeedCafe)
- More management changes at ARG (SpeedCafe)
- Lisa Totani appointed new TCR Australia Category Manager (SpeedCafe)
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Alpine F1 x Palace x Kappa F1 Collections (Podium Life)
- EA plans F1 game-streaming event for Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sports Business Journal)
- PUMA Introduces the Formula 1 Las Vegas Collection (Podium Life)
- Red Bull to follow Marquez in ending Honda MotoGP relationship (Autosport)
- Balancing Sponsorship and Activation Budgets (Drive Sports Marketing)
- Formula E and SpoTV sign extension to exclusive APAC broadcast deal (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Neom Strengthens McLaren Racing Ties (Sports Industry Biz)
- Formula E announces Hackett London as Official Apparel Partner (Formula E)
- Spire Sports + Entertainment Continues to Champion James Hinchliffe (Spire Sports)
- Formula E puts comms agency in pole position (PR Week)
- F1 sponsorship’s ‘more sophisticated’ future: unique liveries and dynamic branding (The Athletic)
- The Shift in Motorsports Marketing: From Gritter to Glitter (Is It Fast?)
- New documentary explores why US companies are flocking to F1 (Motorsport.com)
- McLaren Racing bags L&D partnership with Udemy across full racing portfolio (BlackBook Motorsport)
- AlphaTauri toast long-term partnership with Neft Vodka (BlackBook Motorsport)
- MotoGP signs long-term Sky Deutschland media rights deal
- MNTN Named Official Performance TV Partner of BWT Alpine F1 Team Ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix (MNTN)
- Brands Rev Up Their NASCAR Sponsorships in the Sport’s 75th Season (Sponsor United)
- MoneyGram Haas F1 Team and Play’n GO announce new multi-year partnership (Haas F1)
- Start Me Up: AMR23 takes to Las Vegas with The Rolling Stones (Aston Martin F1)
- Extreme E pens Ocean Bottle partnership (BlackBook Motorsport)
- AlphaTauri and Gundam in special tie-up for the Las Vegas GP (Autosport)
- Red Bull Racing extends partnership with TAG Heuer (GP Blog)
Team & Manufacturer News
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- AO Racing expands to LMP2 with Hyett and Chatin; Priaulx and Heinrich in for GTD PRO (Racer)
- Iron Lynx announces three-car Rolex 24 program (Racer)
- KPM retains 2023 drivers, adds new GTD Mercedes (Racer)
- Trackhouse’s 2023 season a success despite early playoffs exit – Marks (Racer)
- Andretti Motorsports GTD Team Announces 2024 Manufacturer and Endurance Driver Lineup (IMSA)
- Shift Up Now Announces Partnership with AE Victory Racing: Team to Make Debut Run in Upcoming Race at COTA
- US NG Announces Purchase of Ligier JS F422, Entrance into F4 U.S. in 2024 (US F4)
- Toyota Gazoo Racing announces five-car Dakar 2024 line-up (Motorsport Week)
- Momentum Motorsports Set for F4 Junior Series In 2024 (Momentum Motorsports)
- WTRAndretti Announces Lamborghini GTD Program for 2024 (Wayne Taylor Racing)
- NIO 333 Begins New Era as ERT Formula E Team (Green Racing News)
- How JDC-Miller is embracing the Porsche 963 learning curve (Racer)
- Porsche pauses build of additional customer 963 LMDhs until mid-2024 (Autosport)
- Fresh details of Tickford restructure come to light (Speed Cafe)
- Factory Supported Corvettes to Run in Traditional Yellow Livery (Sportscar365)
- Four-Car Gulf 12 Hours Assault For AF Corse (Daily Sportscar)
- Spanish F4 attracts new teams led by famous Spanish racers (Formula Scout)
- How the Lotus legend is kept alive in historics (Autosport)
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
In a recent profile in The Robb Report, renowned car designer Gordon Murray discussed a number of issues including that of the the greatest lesson he learned from F1.
“With Brabham and Bernie Ecclestone, we had a tiny budget compared to the big guys like McLaren, Ferrari, and even Williams. That period taught me a lot about how to make a race-winning vehicle to beat the giants on a very low budget. You learn very quickly what makes a car go fast and doesn’t cost a lot of money.”