As the FIA formally open the process to new F1 team applications, there is the potential that the next few years can see the biggest change to the F1 grid since 2010. It’s all part of a busy week in the Business of Motorsport.
Amongst an apparent growing rift between the FIA, Liberty Media and by extension the F1 teams, by 2026 the Formula 1 grid could potentially include Ford, Porsche, Cadillac/GM and Honda in addition to the already announced Audi.
In addition to the rift in F1, NASCAR could be facing something similar as the teams and NASCAR face off over their next media rights deal, IndyCar is trimming their Leading Circle payments and Aprilia are heading to Dakar. All this plus the latest motorsport sponsorship and partnership deals, answering the question as to why Prema is so successful and Jean Alesi’s new gig.
It’s the weekly Business of Motorsport Roundup, which is as always, news that racers can use. Updated to include confirmation of Ford returning to F1.
Motorsport Industry News
I am sure that Michael Andretti and Panthera Team Asia are happy as the FIA has formally launched the bid process to find up to two new Formula 1 teams as early as 2025. “The FIA believes the conditions are right for interested parties, which meet the selection criteria, to express a formal interest in entering the championship. For the first time ever, as part of the selection conditions, we are requesting that candidates set out how they would meet the FIA’s sustainability benchmarks and how they would make a positive societal impact through sport. The process is a logical extension of the positive acceptance of the FIA’s 2026 F1 Power Unit Regulations from engine manufacturers which has attracted Audi to Formula 1 and created interest among other potential entrants.”
Autosport looks at how the FIA will decide on F1’s potential new teams while Planet F1 takes a closer look at the list of FIA requirements for potential new Formula 1 entrants.
And what about the teams and their concerns that their value will be diluted when a new team or two joins the grid? The FIA president has sarcastically asked if the teams blocking Andretti would like him to “kick out five teams” so they can have a bigger share.
The saga continues…
The opening of applications for new F1 teams comes at an interesting point in the relationship between the FIA and the Teams and Liberty Media. With rumors that the teams want to replace FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, BlackBook Motorsport delves into why F1’s relationship with the FIA has reached breaking point. “Despite FOM’s obvious discontent, it cannot depose of the leader of its governing body sheerly by throwing its weight around. Either way, the president finds himself on unsteady ground, especially amid recent allegations of historic sexist comments, but reports that he can only be overthrown if real gross misconduct can be proved.”
By the time that this is published on February 3rd at 6:00 AM ET it may already be confirmed as fact but The Race is reporting that Ford set to announce F1 return with Red Bull engine deal. “It is expected to be announced on Friday that the two Red Bull teams, Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, will run engines branded as Fords in a deal that involves the US manufacturer offering funding and technical input in return for naming rights.” UPDATE: This has now been confirmed. Autosport looks at why Ford can offer Red Bull what Porsche could not in F1.
Audi has finally conformed that they have purchased a 25% stake in the Sauber Group ahead of their entry into Formula 1 in 2026. “The Sauber Group is pleased to announce that, as per the plans outlined in October last year, Audi acquired a minority stake in the Sauber Group in January 2023,” a Sauber statement read. “This is an important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula 1, scheduled for 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the German brand’s strategic partner.”
I don’t normally publish many rumors unless there seems to be a firm basis for them from legitimate sources but this one seems to fall in the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” category. Apparently Porsche and Gulf will become involved with the Williams F1 team as engine supplier and main sponsor based on social media posts that were published and then removed by Porsche. It is not outside the realm of possibility but I will believe it when I see it.
Speaking of Williams, if you are wondering if they have been able to collect their arbitration award from former sponsor Rokit, they have not. “So far, neither creditor has been able to collect, as Rokit has used the bankruptcy process to put a liability wall between the specific named parties to those sponsorship agreements—Able Events and Combine Enterprises, formerly known as ROK Marketing LLC—and the pockets of Kendrick and Rokit’s biggest financial backer, billionaire John Paul DeJoria, who previously co-founded Patrón Spirits Co. and John Paul Mitchell Systems.”
Essentially Sports has everything you need to know about the Andretti-Cadillac F1 engine partnership. According to the Race, Michael Andretti revealed, “It’ll be more of a collaboration with another manufacturer” while talking about their engine plans. Mark Reuss, GM’s president shed some more light on the matter. He revealed that there exists a “signed agreement with a power unit supplier to begin with”.
Red Bull Racing advisor Dr Helmut Marko has weighed in on the “supposed” $20 billion bid that Formula 1 chiefs are said to have rejected, the Red Bull boss conceding if Liberty Media does sell they have to be careful about who buys the sport. “I think it wouldn’t be so good if it went to a country that is culturally different from where most of the races take place,” he added.
General Motorsport Industry News
It’s been a tumultuous 6 months in NASCAR land as NASCAR nears a new media rights deal but a simmering dispute with teams over revenue has complicated matters according to the Sports Business Journal. “At issue is that teams want to get more money annually from the league, saying they face a major struggle to turn a profit. The largest revenue stream in NASCAR is the $8.2 billion, 10-year media rights agreement with Fox Sports and NBC Sports that started in 2015 and expires after 2024. NASCAR could try to hash out a deal with teams after it strikes the new media rights agreement, sources say, but instead it plans to negotiate with teams as media talks advance. Teams do get other monies, but the TV revenue is by far the largest stream, sources said.”
Lamborghini will focus on single-car entries for the first season of its LMDh program in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup next year. “For sure it will be one car in 2024, and two cars in Le Mans,” the Italian manufacturer’s head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna said, while also confirming a single-car IMSA Endurance Cup effort. “It’s a matter of capability and effort. It’s the first experience for us in a prototype category and the debut of the manufacturer. To be more conservative and have more focus on the development of the car and learning process, it’s better to start with one car. Then we will evaluate if, and when, it will be possible to have a second car entering.”
IndyCar is making an alteration to its Leaders Circle program. RACER has learned a change to the prize money-based payout system has been implemented where each contract for 2023 comes with a $150,000 reduction. “With each Leaders Circle contract valued at $1.06 million in 2022, the new contracts on offer are worth $910,000 in guaranteed prize money, a 14-percent year-to-year loss.”
Episode 86 of the Inside the SCCA podcast is a keynote that podcast host Brian Bielanski moderated for the 2023 SCCA National Convention. On the eve of the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona International Speedway, IMSA President John Doonan and SCCA Vice President of Road Racing Eric Prill discussed the return of GTP, new U.S. involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and how SCCA continues to be a critical part of professional motorsports. You can listen here.
The FIA has announced that applications are open for the 2023 edition (May 9–17) of its Immersion Program, which aims to provide young members of FIA clubs across the world with inspiration and experience to become future leaders in motorsport. Young people interested in getting involved in the Immersion Program should liaise with their national federation.
17 Sport looks at the 5 Trends in Sports We’re Keeping an Eye on in 2023. “Each year, the sports industry continues to be a catalyst for social change in response to growing societal pressures. Still, today it is clear that this effort must be intensified if the true power of sports is to be maximized. As we look to the coming year, here’s what our team of experts saw in 2022 and are anticipating will continue in the year to come.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are this week’s latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and sponsorship analysis.
- Fleet Cost & Care Extends Partnership With Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
- Fresh logo marks dawn of exciting new era for CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa
- Nascar teams looking for ‘up to US$18m’ in next media rights deal
- AlphaTauri F1 team announce PKN Orlen as principal partner
- Alfa Romeo F1 team secure ‘AU$140m’ Stake title partnership
- Legal loopholes, jail and a $400m lawsuit: Meet Alfa Romeo’s new crypto sponsor Stake
- Alfa Romeo F1 team enters streaming world with Kick partnership
- Motul is Confirmed as Official 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship Lubricant Partner
- ICANIWILL becomes official sports apparel supplier of NXT Gen Cup
- Nascar’s Stewart-Haas signs SunnyD sponsorship deal
- Nascar collaborates on beach-themed licensing deal with Hurley
- WRC to offer comprehensive WRC2 highlights package
- Motocross signs three-year extension with Sport & Events Logistics
- Formula E and New Era join forces in headwear partnership
- Intelligent Money further extends British GT Championship title sponsorship
- Formula E secures Greenko as title sponsor of Hyderabad E-Prix
- The Rolex – Formula 1 sponsorship: making the world’s top watch even bigger
- Global Advisory and Accounting Firm BDO Joins IMSA as Newest Corporate Partner
- Scuderia Ferrari and VistaJet | Private Jets for Formula 1
- WSC and MyTVchain join to revamp TCR streaming platform – TCR HUB
- MSI Kicks Off New Partnership With Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing
- Nascar’s RFK Racing extends partnership with King’s Hawaiian
- Interstate Batteries adjusts NASCAR marketing plan
- British Superbikes signs three-year R&G extension
- Morgan Performance Group Signs The Racers Safety Source as New Safety Gear Sponsor
The Business of Running a Race Team
Feeder Series looks to explain why Prema is so dominant in junior single-seaters. “Despite being operative in championships that use different cars, Prema holds the title as the most successful team in Formula 2, Formula 3 and Italian F4 – in both the drivers’ and teams’ standings. There are many reasons as for why they are considered the best team in feeder series’ short history, but a couple of them stand out as the most relevant ones.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner revealed that the team is feeling the impact of the cost-cap penalty they received after going over budget for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.“And it just means you have to be a bit more focused, and more disciplined in what we put through the testing process within the tunnel or within our simulation tools.”
Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur is not planning on restructuring the F1 team following his arrival. “We have discussions to try to understand how we could improve the system, what could be the weakness of the system and to try to do a better job,” said Vasseur when asked if any reshuffles were planned. “It’s more a continuous improvement rather than taking a big step or making big changes. From my point of view, this [a reshuffle] wouldn’t make sense.”
With the possible imminent arrival of Andretti/Cadillac to the F1 grid, Planet F1 explains how Haas are now starting to embrace their American roots. “Of course, their base is in North Carolina but with offices also in the UK and Maranello, it is understandable that some American fans have felt no great affinity towards their supposed team.”
Feeder Series spoke to Saintéloc Racing Team Principal Morgan Caron at the Kuwait Motor Town circuit about their hopes and aspirations this year and beyond. “We have the capacity to be on the top.”
Michael Andretti believes that his team’s GTP involvement will only strengthen their IndyCar program. “We feel like when you get in all these different series that you are diluting yourself, I disagree, I think we are making ourselves stronger.” Andretti said. “There Is always something to learn from one series to another, and we always try to apply that. We may be doing something in sports cars that is different that might work in IndyCar and vise versa. We are always looking to make ourselves better and learn from each series that we are involved in.”
Aprilia might be known for their MotoGP and road racing teams today, but the Italian manufacturer’s first foray into motorsport came in motocross. Last Friday, the company announced they will return to the off-road realm as they form a rally raid team with the goal of competing in the Dakar Rally and other major races as early as 2024.
23XI Racing has detailed a number of off track moves ahead of its third NASCAR season including a new HQ and new personnel according to the Sports Business Journal. Click here to read the story at www.sportsbusinessjournal.com
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Jean Alesi has been appointed as the new president of the Circuit Paul Ricard. “I am very happy and honoured by this nomination because this circuit is my life in motorsport,” Alesi said of his new job.