While F1 teams continue to bicker over the possible addition of Andretti-Cadillac to the grid, Saudi Arabia is looking to poach teams from Motorsport Valley in this week’s Business of Motorsport roundup.
It is not just Andretti that wants to join the F1 circus either as two teams from Asia are also looking to join the grid. In addition to all of that, GM has given its assurance that any F1 bid would not jeopardize their sportscar activities, an argument that crypto sponsorship in F1 is not at the beginning of the end despite the intensifying “crypto winter”, the new Haas F1 logo gets a failing grade and a sports business conference at my alma mater with an impressive motorsport session that you may want to attend.
All this plus the latest motorsport sponsorship deals and partnerships, news from the teams on how they are conducting their business of racing, the latest motorsport movers and shakers, and much more in this week’s Business of Motorsport roundup. Its business news that racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
The Business of Formula 1
The reaction to last week’s Andretti/GM announcement has varied from muted to outright antagonistic. Here is a roundup of what the response has been so far.
- Andretti Joins Cadillac for American Dream F1 Bid
- Why GM wants to go all-in with Andretti
- F1 rift growing as Ben Sulayem hits back at Andretti Cadillac reactions
- F1 teams pushing for massive hike to $200m new entry fee
- Andretti might be his own biggest F1 roadblock
- Michael Andretti Sounds Off On Formula One Pushback; Remains Optimistic He Checked All The Boxes For F1 Bid
- A Deep Dive Into An All-American Team In Formula One With Andretti Global And Cadillac
- ‘Strong majority’ of F1 grid against expansion, Cadillac intentions questioned – report
- Why F1 and teams are still not impressed by Andretti’s entry plans
- Why Andretti is both right and wrong with his F1 “greed” accusations
- Michael Andretti rails against Cadillac ‘badging exercise’ claim
- F1 teams pushing to make it even harder for new teams to join – report
- Battle lines are drawn as F1 and the FIA brace for civil war over Andretti entry
- FIA president: Andretti Cadillac involvement ‘important for F1’
- Cadillac not put off by lukewarm F1 reaction to Andretti entry plans
- OEMs – Who are they to dictate?
- Our verdict on ‘cartel’ F1 teams’ resistance to Andretti bid
With all the talk and resistance around the Andretti F1 entry, we tend to forget that there are others who are looking to join the F1 grid. Both Panthera Team Asia and Hong Kong businessman Calvin Lo have indicated that they are interested in pursuing ownership of an F1 team. Here are the latest updates on those entries.
- Exclusive: Panthera also pushing for F1 spot, will build Asian academy and aiming for 2026 launch
- Space for 12 teams on F1 grid? Panthera ‘not fighting for one spot’ against Andretti
- Calvin Lo wants to enter F1 with Asian team: ‘Money is not the problem’
- Panthera Asia F1 team ‘open’ to link up with prospective investor Calvin Lo
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia is flexing their financial muscle in the sports world generally and motorsport in particular. Not content to just host a Formula 1 race, the Kingdom wants to attract team headquarters as well. Planet F1 reports that Aston Martin and McLaren are apparently being targeted while GP Blog are reporting that Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, president of the Saudi Automobile and Motor Federation, wants to compete with the British motorsport world. Asked if he would see an F1 team move to the Middle East, he replied in the affirmative. “This is what we are hoping for and this is what we are working for,” Bin Sultan Al Faisal said. “With all the investing we are doing in cars — the private investment fund bought shares in McLaren and Aston Martin — we are heading that way. Hopefully we can open and bring headquarters to Saudi Arabia.”
Formula 1 has invested heavily in its upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, and it’s expecting a huge return. The series is targeting $500 million in revenue from the November race, its first in Las Vegas since 1982.
Somewhat related to the Las Vegas Grand Prix story above, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle has welcomed the change in attitude of F1’s ownership after claiming the previous regime led by Bernie Ecclestone ‘crushed’ promoters. “Now, I’m pleased to say that the owners of F1 take a sensible view that it is not in their interests to crush the promoter and they recognise that the BRDC invests all of its money back into the facilities.”
Planet F1 has revealed the eye-watering numbers each driver must pay to enter F1 2023. “A mind-boggling €963,800 fee is what Verstappen must pay as per the FIA Super Licence rules, which is made up of a €10,400 base figure, plus €2,100 for every point scored in the season just gone.”
Western University‘s Ivey School of Business will be holding their Ivey Sports Leadership Conference January 20-21, 2023. Of interest to the business of motorsport is their Breakout Panel on the 21st covering Formula 1 called Formula 1: From Miami to Montreal. You can see the schedule of all the conference sessions here and you can register to attend here.
General Motorsport Industry News
Cadillac’s proposed link-up with Andretti to enter Formula 1 won’t have an impact on the brand’s participation in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or FIA World Endurance Championship with the Cadillac V-LMDh according to the company’s global vice president Rory Harvey, As he is quoted in Sportscar365. “But from our perspective, it will complement what we do in this series. We don’t see it impacting this series in any way.”
Racer.com reports that “selling a racing program to the bean counters or a board of directors whose sole focus is moving road cars isn’t always an easy task. Certainly in some car companies where motorsports is ingrained in the DNA, it’s probably much easier. For others, there has to be a solid business case and clear evidence of return on investment. The manufacturers producing LMDh cars for the GTP class in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and for WEC Hypercar in some cases, have clear visions for how that return is manifested.”
MotorTrend explains how Nissan has gone all in on Formula E.
Nissan’s involvement in Formula E started as a gateway to the world of electrification through a partnership with e.dams, which enabled the carmaker to build experience alongside their expertise before they acquired the team in April, 2022. A few months later Nissan announced that the carmaker would provide its EV powertrain technology to McLaren Racing for the Gen3 era, further entrenching itself in the realm of advanced electrification in order to more rapidly deploy technology into its road cars. “Transferring the learnings of energy management is something we’re constantly doing,” Volpe says. “Our engineers are in constant contact with the engineers in advanced R&D, so the learnings are continuous.”Nissan Goes All In On Formula E (MotorTend)
The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will have new ownership when the green flag waves on its 2023 season this March. This week, NASCAR icons Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Justin Marks announced their acquisition of the Southeast’s premier asphalt late model series.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Earnhardt Jr., a NASCAR Hall of Famer and current NBC Sports analyst. “I’m a huge fan of the CARS Tour and local short-track racing. The competition, the tracks, and the drivers are some of the best around. These regional series are vital to the quality of racing you see at the top level. Jack (McNelly, CARS Tour founder) has done a tremendous job establishing the CARS Tour as a preeminent series, and I’m thrilled to be part of its future.”
The 2023 SCCA Convention is taking place Jan. 19-27 and the virtual SCCA National Convention is completely and utterly free to attend because it takes place online. Convention sessions ranging from keynote speakers to how-tos to “office hours” gatherings will take place. This year’s theme is “Engage,” meaning there will be ample opportunities to listen, speak, and be heard, giving you the power to improve the already fantastic events you help host in your Region.
Those who register for this year’s virtual SCCA National Convention by 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, Jan. 16, and attend at least one session during the Jan. 19-27 event, will have their names placed in an equally virtual hat. Two members will then be chosen for one trip each to the SCCA Prize Closet. What’s in the Prize Closet? The list contains everything from Hawk brakes to Braille batteries, Summit Racing Equipment canopies, coolers from Hagerty, iRacing memberships, and more!
You can get more information and register here.
Applications are now open for the third annual Rod Campbell Award. With the application process now open, the 2023 Rod Campbell Award winner will receive six to eight weeks of paid apprenticeship work with a variety of motorsports entities run by Campbell’s proteges and a hopeful career in the world of motorsports similar to 2021 recipient, Cedric Burkhardt, and 2022 winner AJ Abate. You can apply here.
At Autosport International, Motorsport UK announced their commitment to a diverse and inclusive future as well as explaining how motorsport can drive change in environmental sustainability. Wentworth kicked off the session by asking what makes the panelists optimistic when it comes to facing the challenge of environmental sustainability. Runicles responded by praising the proactivity of the motorsport community, stating, “A lot of people have come to Motorsport UK to discuss sustainability which shows there’s a lot of appetite to help. That will enable the community to drive greater change.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Blackbook Motorsport have released their Formula E 2023 commercial guide containing every team, every sponsor and all the major TV deals. “As the series prepares to embark on its new era starting with the opening race of the season in Mexico, BlackBook Motorsport profiles the teams and outlines the key commercial details about Formula E.”
Formula E and DHL have renewed their partnership kicking off the new Gen3 era this weekend in Mexico. “DHL’s partnerships provides state-of-the-art sustainable logistics, incorporating tailored multimodal-transport, including both road and sea freight, that maximises efficiency and reduces CO2 emissions. Through using biofuels for all road and sea freight, DHL will travel the expected 89,100 kilometers for the upcoming season, moving approximately 415 tons of valuable freight per race, including race cars, batteries, charging units, broadcast equipment, and marketing and hospitality equipment.”
The Stoli Group has partnered with Maserati MSG Racing in Formula E. “We are delivering one vision and one mission: to establish the most powerful and sustainable ultra-luxury spirits and wines portfolio by 2025. To that end, we are thrilled to sponsor Maserati MSG Racing. We are proud to have a partner that boldly matches our sustainability vision in innovative ways, and on multiple fronts. While a successful sustainable journey can’t be achieved alone, together we can make a lasting difference. Maserati MSG Racing and the Stoli Group are united in prioritising quality without compromising the planet.” Damian McKinney, Global CEO of Stoli Group“
Confirming the rumors that I reported last week, Ferrari has announced that it has parted ways with Velas, a crypto sponsor whose logos were prominent on the livery of the 2022 F1-75 car.
Despite news like the Ferrari news above, Cian Brittle of Blackbook Motorsport argues that crypto is not facing “the beginning of the end” in Formula One. “With the nature of FTX’s demise, it’s no surprise that the atmosphere around crypto has shifted. It’s also no surprise that this was seen to be the beginning of the end for crypto sponsorships in not just Formula One, but sport in general, especially after three further crypto deals concluded with Ferrari, Red Bull and AlphaTauri. However, the FTX collapse is not reflective of the current state of cryptocurrency, nor is it indicative of the sector’s future dealings with Formula One. Haider Rafique, chief marketing officer at OKX, insisted as much when in a recent conversation with the BlackBook.”
Red Bull Racing has taken two big names off its sponsorship list. Sportswear manufacturer Puma and software company Citrix will no longer be seen on the team’s Formula 1 car from 2023.
The new Haas F1 logo isn’t a winner according to Creative Bloq.com. “Sponsorship going too far? When you’ve got two logos in one, there’s almost always going to be too much going on, and it’s hard for one identity not to interfere with the other. With the new Haas logo there’s been an attempt to find harmony in the matching brand colours, but there’s no convincing people that this isn’t just too logos squished together.”
Nico Rosberg explains What I learnt… about Formula One sponsorship. “That’s very often a shortcoming from sponsorship salesmen who will just sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, and try to get cash in, but forget to really make sure that the partner gets the return on investment in the way that he needs. So you really need to understand their needs. It’s super important in order to have a long term partnership. You can always make a one-year deal by just selling well, but if you then don’t back it up with really adding value, then it’s going to be a very short partnership.”
McLaren Racing has announced an extension and expansion to its multi-year partnership with official team apparel and sportswear partner Castore. UK-based premium sportswear brand Castore will continue to provide teamwear and merchandise for the McLaren Formula 1 Team from the 2023 season, while extending its support to all McLaren’s physical race series from 2024.
Australian touring car series Supercars Championship has extended its partnership with Pizza Hut until 2025. Pizza Hut will continue as Supercars’ quick service restaurant partner for a further three years. The restaurant chain also receives naming rights to the track map and hard charger broadcast assets and Supercars will receive significant signage at Pizza Hut restaurants across Australia.
Radical Motorsport has announced Omologato as its Official Watch Partner. The collaboration will see a ‘Radical Edition’ of the popular Omologato Tifosi collection and Omologato sponsorship on Radical’s demo fleet in 2023.
The Business of Running a Race Team
Isotta Fraschini is aiming for a Monza WEC debut after its entry was rejected by the FIA and ACO. “We are disappointed, but maybe not surprised,” said Berro. “The big problem is the homologation of the car, which is a long process, and when you homologated the car you freeze the specification. The FIA and the ACO told us that it would be better to do more testing on track before we homologate the car.”
Former Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur said the next three years would be used to build up Sauber’s facilities and spending for when Audi arrive. Until then, Sauber have three years to put the building blocks in place for Audi, with a piece of major business already done as Andreas Seidl left his team principal role at McLaren to become Sauber CEO.
While Audi is only scheduled to join the F1 grid in 2026, they have acknowledged the difficulty of recruiting staff from other F1 teams. While the likes of Red Bull Powertrains are located close to Mercedes’ engine facility at Brixworth thus making recruitment easier, Audi Sport Technical Director Stefan Dreyer told RacingNews365.com and Motorsport Magazin in a joint interview that he admits that this is not such a straightforward task for Audi. “The implementation phase started a few months before the communication. You first have to find the 300 to 400 employees in Neuburg an der Donau and bring them together,” Dreyer said. “That is a Herculean task, to say the least. Red Bull Powertrains already has about 350 people working there. Milton Keynes is 30 miles from Brixworth, though.”
Planet F1 reports that Red Bull reportedly made 154 redundancies when the F1 budget cap was introduced. “According to figures by Motorsport-Total.com, Red Bull cut their workforce from 875 people to 721 between 2020 and 2021, with around 100 employees leaving the design department of Red Bull Technology alone.”
Mercedes’ Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, accompanied by team boss Toto Wolff, recently visited the organizations engine factory in Brixworth. You can watch the visit in the video above.
In Speed costs money: How fast do you want to go? on the Shift Up Now website, Brad McCall of Round 3 Racing discusses the challenge he has faced running women in the driver’s seat of his race cars. “We had established a program putting women on equal ground with men and giving them all the tools to succeed. We were proving that this sport knows no gender. I believe we earned the success to entice sponsorship. Bring on the support. The phone should start ringing off the hook now, right? Crickets. Except for one: Cooper Tires continues to stand with us, and even ramped up their support at WRL events. The company is – and has always been – committed to supporting women in motorsport.”
Renowned disc jockey in the dance music scene Carl Cox is the newest Extreme E team owner when Carl Cox Motorsport makes their debut in 2023. A driver lineup was not immediately announced. “Participating in electric racing is new to me but I’m a fast learner and will bring my hard earned know how and experience into the mix at Extreme E. Carl Cox Motorsports is here to take on all comers and we are going to jump straight in. We are in it to win it.”
Juncos Hollinger Racing has expanded its IndyCar program to two cars for the 2023 season, signing Argentine touring car ace Agustin Canapino to partner Callum Illot. The move will require them to restructure their IndyCar operations. “JHR was the only single-car entry in IndyCar last season and, as part of an organisational restructure, the team is returning to the Indy NXT series after a one-year hiatus. With two entries planned for the feeder series, JHR will look to replicate this at the top level soon. The concept is to have the Indy NXT team combine with the IndyCar team to form a talent pipeline, much like how Formula One teams have driver academies.”
A.J. Foyt Racing heads into the new season with a number of key personnel changes to its two-car NTT IndyCar Series operation for veteran Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen.
Petty GMS has changed its name to Legacy Motor Club (Legacy M.C.) under the leadership combination of Maury Gallagher and seven-time NASCAR champions Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson.
Argenti Motorsport races in the British Formula 4 and Karting championships, and is the only team to do so. “So it means there’s a bit of a path there. It’s the same people talking to the same people when they move from karting to F4. From our side it makes it easier, there’s already a presence, people more aware of it, whereas previously there’s been a bit of a – little bit of a clash probably between karting and F4 because F4 is poaching kart drivers from our teams and stuff. It’s good to have everyone on the same page, because everyone is just trying to help the young guys make the next step.”
The FIA is considering a process that could bring more teams to Formula 1, but Prema Racing, one of junior racing’s most successful teams, is not aiming to join. “Prema is still managed as a family [business]. We have been running the business in the same way that we were doing with the previous partner and since forever. So, honestly, the spirit within the team is always the same. [As Prema expands it needs] different inputs, from different people, because otherwise I cannot follow everything. It’s already quite complicated. But at the moment, all of the activities of Prema are under our control, so still it didn’t change the way of operating.”
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Hyundai Motorsport have announced that Cyril Abiteboul, known from Formula 1, will be taking over the leading role of the FIA World Rally Championship team. Joe Saward calls this an intriguing appointment as Abiteboul has no experience in rallying. “The move is interesting in that there have been some vague rumours around that Hyundai might want to enter Formula 1 in 2026.”
Arrow McLaren has hired Mo Murray as its new VP of marketing and commercial activities. It’s a reunion of sorts for Ireland’s Murray who returns to work under the umbrella of McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed key former Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda Performance Development figure Steve Eriksen as its Chief Operating Officer.
Justin Marks, founder and team owner of Trackhouse Racing, was another featured guest at Race Industry Week. Trackhouse is a sports and entertainment brand rooted in racing, bringing a fresh approach to NASCAR, sports and entertainment. Watch the interview above hosted by Brad Gillie from SiriusXM, Ch. 90, The Late Shift.