Speculation that Ford could possibly return to F1, that IndyCar plans on revamping their marketing push and more warnings about crypto sponsorship in sports are just a few of the fascinating items in this week’s Business of Motorsport Roundup.
In addition to all that, you will learn how F1 revenue is distributed amongst the teams, how Shift Up Now is increasing their vital activities in helping to fund talented female racers, a look back at the PRI Trade Show and even at what is to come in 2023 for Motorsport Prospects.
I also have the latest motorsport deals and partnerships, the latest team-related developments for 2023, motorsport movers and shakers and much more.
All this in the latest Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
Is Formula going to dominate the world of motorsport? These two articles look at just that issue and argue that in a lot of ways, it has already happened.
- Why 2023 heralds a new dawn in F1’s quest for world domination
- An Analysis of Formula 1 Global Dominance
There has been some interesting news on the Formula 1 engine front. Autosport is reporting that Ford is being linked to an F1 return with Red Bull. “And while there does not seem an eagerness for it to get involved in funding a full works team or producing its own power unit, sources suggest that one avenue being explored is a tie-up with the Red Bull team.” Meanwhile, Honda has registered interest with the FIA as part of the new F1 engine plans being implemented for 2026. “But talk about Honda coming back to F1 moved forward when an original plan for Red Bull to tie-up with Porsche from 2026 fell through after talks between the parties collapsed. Immediately after that news emerged, Red Bull, which is developing its own engine, said it was open to potentially partnering with Honda – especially on the increased electrical element of the F1 power unit.”
In the video above, RacingNews365 takes you on a journey through F1’s financials, and explains how the sport’s revenues trickle down to its ten teams.
Based on the video above, this could be why Hong Kong billionaire Calvin Lo is plotting a new team entry for the 2026 season. Lo told BBC Sport that he is currently looking at the financial requirements around forming a team, with a decision on his approach to be reached shortly given the quick progress needed to be made to be on the grid for 2026. “Based on what I’m seeing right now, it’s highly aspirational, but it seems like it can be done if all the stars are aligned,” Lo said.
In one of the most anticipated races of the modern era, Sports Business Journal looks at the race to Vegas. “With less than a year before Formula One’s inaugural race on the Las Vegas Strip, the promotion and planning continue at high levels and the numbers keep rising. F1 and parent company Liberty Media will invest $500 million by the time the event gets underway, and the race itself will be among the most expensive to attend in all of sports in 2023.”
While the Vegas race is hotly anticipated, the French Grand Prix promotions company is in the process of being dissolved. “It’s the end of a story” – concludes a sad Eric Boullier when asked about the future of the event – “Too bad it ends despite all the efforts made to ensure that this last edition went perfectly. For five years, the South region has allowed this event to return to the calendar and allow our country to appear again at the highest level of motor racing.”
One thing that the FIA is keen to avoid is a ‘WWE’ style scenario with Formula 1 governance. “You cannot just have it without the rules. You cannot have it without amending it, updating it. What would you end up by like the wrestling, you know, like WWF (sic), which has no governance – no, the governance has to be there.”
Finally, Formula 1 has announced broadcast deals in Mexico with FOX Sports Mexico and in Belgium with Flemish broadcaster Play Sports.
With competition increasing from Formula 1 and always present with NASCAR, IndyCar is looking to up their game. After parting ways with previous VP of marketing SJ Luedtke, Penske President and CEO Mark Miles has indicated that there will be a wider effort to focus on promotion of its on-track product. And has Marshall Pruett has reported, they have already started with an ambitious play for new TV viewers. “This exercise is about reach and potential for IndyCar to connect with a whole new audience through The CW and VICE TV using the greatest American race as the hook. Netflix, of course, would have been the perfect home for this project, but they weren’t interested and among those who were, the series went with the option that offered the best odds of addressing its demographic skew.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Shift Up Now, an organization founded to help fund talented female racers in motorsport, has announced the addition of a 501c3 foundation. Shift Up Now was started by Lynn Kehoe in 2016, who turned over the organization’s management in 2020 to seven-time Indianapolis 500 competitor Pippa Mann. Its mission is to afford female racers the opportunity to climb ladders and break barriers. Thus far, Shift Up Now has accomplished its organizational goals via traditional sponsorships, partnerships and social media agreements.
The foundation will live alongside the for-profit business, continuing to strive for gender equality for female athletes in motorsport. The Shift Up Now Foundation will be able to further the mission by accepting tax-deducible gifts, donations and grants.
Funds raised from donations will be used to award opportunities to racers believed to have the talent and aptitude to succeed in motorsports. This will allow these racers access to more competitive equipment, seat time for testing and practice, and resources to help grow their careers.
The joint FIA and FIM Women in Motorsports Conference held at the Royal Automobile Club, in London earlier in the week proved to be a huge success with the audience treated to an engaging program of keynote speeches and empowering panel discussions that included some of the leading names from the industry and beyond.
The main objective of the latest Women in Motorsports Conference was to bring together key individuals who continue to work towards developing greater diversity in motorsports across various sectors such as volunteering, engineering, team management, medical and safety personnel, and athlete welfare.
Sharing the same common goal on both two and four wheels, Nita Korhonen – FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission Director and Deborah Mayer – FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President opened the conference with powerful addresses to illustrate the progress that has been made in including women at the top table in the industry.
Here is the full text of the speech given by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem at the 2022 FIA Annual General Assembly in Bologna.
Following a successful inaugural event in 2022, Lime Rock Park is pleased to announce that GRIDLIFE will return to the Park in 2023 for the two-day motorsports festival GRIDLIFE Circuit Legends Aug. 18-20. Lime Rock Park inked a three-year deal with the grassroots motorsports event and lifestyle brand, bringing GRIDLIFE back to the Connecticut circuit through 2026.
The Affordable Cross Car project designed to spearhead the FIA’s mission to double motor sport participation worldwide was revealed in Bologna, Italy, as part of the ASN Forum of this year’s FIA Annual General Assembly. This project will be conducted by a newly created, independent entity, called The Global Motorsport Development Company (GMDC). The purpose of this entity is to provide services to ASNs and enable them to develop motor sport activities and disciplines within specific projects.
The new Cross Car vehicle aims to significantly reduce the cost of entry by providing a full suite of standardised technical drawings for use by ASNs to build low-cost, easily maintained cars for entry level and grassroots competition. The ability to build cars in local markets will eradicate the excessive cost of importing cars from overseas.
Get an inside view of the PRI Trade Show at the Indianapolis Convention Center, in the heart of the hardcore racing industry. While at the Show, racing manufacturers and service providers gain direct access to the worldwide racing marketplace. Exhibitors get face-to-face with buyers for hands-on sales presentations, and business gets done. Show attendees also enjoy a wide variety of in-depth educational seminars, networking events and conferences that take place during the Show.
Finally, as 2022 draws to a close, I thought it was appropriate to fill you in on what I have planned for Motorsport Prospects in the first half of 2023. This is all based primarily on the feedback that I have received from the readers of News Racers Can Use, the blog component of Motorsport Prospects.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Radical Motorsport UK has announced a new partnership with Gusbourne wines. As a part of the agreement, Gusbourne offers Radical drivers and competitors to order their products at a discounted rate, as well as Gusbourne branding on the podium backdrop and throughout track hospitality areas. Gusbourne sparkling wines will be the exclusive ‘bubbles partner’ for all Radical podiums for the 2023 season, as well as Gusbourne branding also appearing on the Radical UK demo cars and on Radical race support vehicles.
Formula E has announced that Technical Partner, Hankook Tire will be the title sponsor of five E-Prix: in Mexico City, Rome and London across Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. As Technical Partner of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from Season 9, Hankook Tire will showcase their new high-performance EV race tyres on the Gen3 race car, with materials made from 26% sustainable rubber that will be fully recycled at their end of life.
Ferrari has renewed and expanded the partnership with EssilorLuxottica that began in 2016. Under the new multi-year agreement, signed by the two companies today and effective from 1 January 2023, EssilorLuxottica will continue to design, produce and market eyewear products featuring the Scuderia Ferrari and Ray-Ban brands. The licensing activities also extend to the first collection of monobrand eyewear featuring the Prancing Horse trademark.
The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) has issued a warning to rights holders over the danger of cryptocurrency partnerships and their high potential of failure. With the ‘crypto winter’ currently wreaking havoc in the industry, the ESA advises: “Companies selling sponsorship rights have been challenged to do more to protect themselves from partnerships that could damage their reputation or their finances.”
Sportico reports that SponsorUnited, a sponsorship information platform, recently closed on a $35 million Series A round led by Spectrum Equity. Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry and San Diego Padres co-owner Ron Fowler have also invested in the company. The money raised will be spent on data automation, talent recruitment and tech development (think: more customized user interface). Spectrum Equity estimates that brands spent $25 billion on sports sponsorships across North American properties in 2021. With so much money in play, there is a growing desire amongst stakeholders for information that can aid in the decision-making process.
The Business of Running a Race Team
Kellymoss and Riley have announced they will partner in 2023 to campaign a two-car IMSA WeatherTech GTD effort and a Michelin Pilot GS program.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be establishing a base in Germany for its FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class program, with work underway on building up its infrastructure according to the team’s director of operations Mike O’Gara. The program will mark CGR’s first in-house WEC effort, as UK-based Multimatic Motorsports operated the factory Ford GT program from 2016-19 that ran under the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing banner in the world championship.
Availability of parts and intricate software are just two of the biggest challenges facing Cadillac Racing as it prepares to begin its 2023 campaign with the Cadillac V-LMDh according to Laura Wontrop Klauser, the brand’s racing program manager. “The chassis are all-new for all of us, so we had to pull resources together to get to the point where we had running cars at Daytona last week and as we prepare for the Rolex (24),” Klauser said. “So, it’s the same approach for the teams. If we try to be off on different islands, we would be unable to compete once we got to the Rolex. We had to work together. We had to swap parts back and forth to make sure cars were running.”
CrowdStrike Racing is taking a competitive step up in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2023 with a new LMP2 effort that will kick off with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29. CrowdStrike Racing with Algarve Pro Racing (APR) will contest the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds for the new season. George Kurtz will be one of the drivers in the No. 4 ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2 entry for the four premier races on the IMSA calendar: the Rolex 24, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans.
Inception Racing has confirmed an expansion into a full-season IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program in 2023 with its McLaren 720S GT3. The Optimum Motorsport-run team, which won the Michelin Endurance Cup title in GTD, will step up to a season-long effort spearheaded by Brendan Iribe, who will be joined by Frederik Schandorff for the season and Ollie Millroy in the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
World Speed Motorsports have announced that they will be bringing two entries into the tenth edition of the Super Trofeo North America in 2023. The World Speed announcement marks a return to the IMSA paddock for the successful open-wheel racing team. The team has won the Star Mazda Championship under the IMSA banner and has had multiple successes in sports cars, however, this is the first time in the team’s 32-year history that it will be committing to supporting a multi-car effort in one of IMSA’s top series.
Through its partnership with Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), the Harrison Contracting Company’s red Acura will be operated by Racers Edge Motorsports in the four most prestigious endurance racing events in North America—the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen and MOTUL Petit Le Mans. Ashton Harrison, Kyle Marcelli and Daniel Formal will pilot the GTD class entry, with decorated sports car driver Ryan Briscoe joining the lineup at Daytona.
DragonSpeed have confirmed that their 2023 sportscar racing efforts will focus on the European Le Mans Series, a return to the series for the full season for the first time since 2019, the team completing part seasons in both 2020 and 2021 with a full IMSA campaign in 2022.
Arrow McLaren SP will move forward with a plan it crafted earlier in the year to shorten its name to Arrow McLaren at the onset of 2023. The change removes the initials of co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson, who sold 75 percent of the team to McLaren Racing in 2021. Despite dropping “SP” from the team’s name, Schmidt and Peterson’s roles remain unchanged and both will be actively involved in the three-car effort.
RFK Racing has announced the opening of its new 6,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art Human Performance Center on its campus. The facility is the home of the team’s workout space, a nutrition center, a physical therapy hub, and staff offices. The fitness facility has been equipped head to toe by Titan Fitness.
CUPRA has teamed up with ABT to compete in Formula E from 2023, marking the German manufacturer’s return to the all-electric championship. “Racing is at the core of CUPRA’s DNA – and at CUPRA we go out to win,” said Wayne Griffiths, CEO of CUPRA. “It’s the right time to take the next leap forward and join the world’s greatest electric motorsport competition, and I can’t wait to see the ABT CUPRA Formula E team competing in the heart of some of the world’s most iconic cities.
Australian-owned racing team Evans GP has announced that it will be taking part in the GB4 Championship in 2023. His operation’s entry into GB4 has been done with an eye to helping aspiring Aussies make the step into racing abroad. “As an Australian, I still have close connections with the racing scene back there, and while we are looking to accelerate the careers of talented drivers from all around the world, one of our team aims is to create a seamless transition for Australasian drivers wanting to launch their careers onto the European racing scene.”
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
When I heard that Jost Capito was leaving Williams, I thought I would post something in Motorsport Movers & Shakers but little did I know that he would be the first of many changes amongst team principals! So here are some articles that look at the who and perhaps more importantly, the why of the various moves that took place this week.
- All change for F1 teams’ management
- What’s behind F1’s managerial merry-go-round
- What’s triggered F1’s team boss merry-go-round?
In their portrait of Otmar Szafnauer, Autosport Plus looks at how Alpine’s no-nonsense boss is leading its ascent towards F1 success. “For me, the most important thing there was not to lose focus on what this team is about, which means on-track performance. All this stuff is about a driver in one seat for next year. So first, ‘Let’s not lose focus as a team, let me worry about that, you guys don’t, we have to finish fourth [in the championship]’.
Elkhart Lake’s Road America Inc., recently announced the addition of Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) Team Owner, Mike Shank, to its Board of Directors. Shank comes into the position with over two decades of motorsports experience as professional IMSA and INDYCAR SERIES Team Owner.
A restructuring of the FIA’s sporting department will include a new organization to cover the majority of circuit and some non-circuit championships, including Formula E – which will have a replacement for new Mahindra team principal Frederic Bertrand. The Race can reveal that the ‘Circuit Sport’ division will be headed up by Marek Nawarecki. The department’s structure is due to be finalized at the beginning of 2023.
Formula 1 President & CEO Stefano Domenicali and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei have been named amongst the Most Influential People in Sports Business in 2022 by Sports Business Journal.
Extreme E, the radical electric racing series which has just completed its second season, has further strengthened its team with David Gillett joining as Head of Media Rights. In his new role with Extreme E, Gillett will be responsible for negotiating and maintaining current broadcasters as well as delivering new partnerships – the end goal being to increase television coverage of the Championship and boost its global fan-base.
F1 journalist Tom Clarkson sat down with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown to review the 2022 season and look ahead to their 60th anniversary year. From Daniel’s departure, Oscar’s signing, and Lando’s development, to the impact electric racing can have on the future of McLaren and our chances in INDYCAR, nothing was off limits…