Honda has consolidated all their motorsport activity, including the US-based Honda Performance Development (HPD) into Honda Racing Corporation. What this could imply is in today’s Business of Motorsport Roundup.
I also have more on the ongoing quest of Michael Andretti to join the F1 grid, the continuing saga of Felipe Massa’s legal quest for the 2008 F1 Driver’s Title and why Pirelli is pulling out of the WRC.
All this plus the latest sponsorship deals and partnerships as well as global race team developments in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Motorsport Industry News
The soap opera that has become Andretti Global’s quest to become Formula 1’s 11th team continued unabated at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. While Zak Brown insists that a quality 11th team will not dilute but add value to existing teams, the rest of the grid seem wary.
Zak Brown: “If you have an 11th team, the scarcity is even greater because there’s only room for 12 teams. As soon as there’s 12, now you’re sold out, so that drives the demand up.”
Adam Cooper looks into why the Sauber F1 deal was the best best deal for Alfa Romeo and how they are now looking at other motorsport opportunities once that partnership ends at the conclusion of the 2023 season. “In terms of this type of business model for Alfa Romeo in terms of investment, and the return on investment, it’s the best ever. And I don’t forget that.”
Two weeks ago I mentioned how Hugo Boss was leaving Formula E and focusing on Formula 1 with the rumor being that they would be the new title sponsor of AlphaTauri. Well the rumor mill keeps on grinding with the name Adidas being whispered but people in the know are saying that the name is “much bigger” according to Planet F1.
The drama surrounding Felipe Massa’s legal case to claim the 2008 Driver’s Championship could throw the sport into disarray argues Toto Wolff, despite the Mercedes boss following the case with interest keeping in mind what happened in 2021. “I don’t think he has a case, to be honest,” said Wolff. “We are signing up to sporting regulations. They’re very clear, and you commit as a licence holder. If everybody were to open up situations then the sport would be in disarray, and especially when you look at the full championships: there’s so many things that have an influence whether you win or lose that I don’t see the case to be honest.”
Meanwhile, in an opinion piece for Autosport Plus, the argument is made that precedent does not favor Massa’s legal challenge and a settlement would be hard for Massa to accept based on his rhetoric. “Massa must know the odds of success and rewriting history 15 years later are extremely poor. And if justice really is the goal, he morally cannot accept any out-of-court settlement if it were ever offered. So, he really should be ready to lose a fistful of dollars.”
Inside Hook’s Alex Kalogiannis argues that the jury is still out on whether the American infatuation with Formula 1 will stand the test of time. “As exciting as this is for American F1 fans eager to see a race for themselves, the new hastily assembled street circuits struggle to replicate the grand prix experience fans can get at one of the sport’s iconic tracks. Fewer are more historic than the Monza Circuit, or the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, and after attending this year’s Italian Grand Prix, it’s clear Formula 1 in the States has a long journey ahead of it.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Honda Performance Development, the California-based racing arm of American Honda, will change its name on January 1 to Honda Racing Corporation US to align itself with Honda Japan’s international factory Honda Racing Corporation organization. “With this change, HRC US will play an integral role in Honda’s global motorsports activities, which includes contributing to the company’s Formula 1 program,” the company stated in its announcement. “Collaborating as one global HRC entity, the two independent racing arms of Honda will combine their unique expertise and resources to strengthen Honda’s overall motorsports capabilities.”
This announcement means that the possibilities of Honda joining the WEC have increased. “On the subject of a timeframe for a move into WEC competition, Salters ruled out talk of a programme in 2024, and said: “It’s not been outlined, so we constantly work on that stuff to see what makes sense on where we go in the future. “We’re looking at future strategies and have no definite timescales at the moment, but we are evaluating it seriously.”
With Chip Ganassi Racing expanding to five cars, the newly renamed Honda Racing Corporation US need to figure out how to accommodate the additional IndyCar requests.
“The truth is, we’re still trying to sort everything out because it is that time of year, but we would not pull engines away from other people where we’ve agreed to support them,” HPD president David Salters told RACER. “That’s not fair. Obviously, Chip and CGR do an awfully good job, and all the quality people there is stunning. “So from our point, anything we can do to help CGR, we’re all-in because they are extremely good. And then it’s always nice to see younger people coming into the series and there’s some good talent we’re going to have among the drivers, which is great.”
Front Office Sports reports that IndyCar is just the latest American series enjoying a U.S. viewership increase. “It’s all part of the latest wave of new interest in motorsports, which continues to attract American fans and stakeholders.”
According to Autosport, Hyderabad is set to drop from the Formula E calendar in 2024. “Autosport understands that the organising team behind the event was disbanded at the end of August after promoters pulled out funding from the race.”
Sports Business Journal looks at how NASCAR boosted local business in Chicago. “When NASCAR took over downtown Chicago for its first street race in July, it decided it wouldn’t leave restaurants and shops in the lurch from the loss of parking and street access. At the ADX Drive conference, NASCAR’s Craig Neeb highlighted the solutions the racing circuit used to give those businesses a boost.”
MotoGP is closing on a return to Hungary for a future event, with a race at the Hungaroring being worked on for the 2025 season.
“MotoGP™’s return to Hungary might be closer than you think! The collaboration between Dorna Sports and the Hungarian Mobility Development Agency (HUMDA) is very much ongoing, with two venues being explored for the near future,” began MotoGP’s statement. “Dorna and HUMDA are working together on the homologation of the Hungaroring and the new Balaton Park Circuit in order to bring both MotoGP™ and WorldSBK back to Hungary soon. The aim of an updated agreement between Dorna and HUMDA is to first include Balaton Park on the 2024 WorldSBK calendar and as a reserve venue for MotoGP™ next season, before the Hungaroring hosts MotoGP™ from 2025… so watch this space!”
Speed Cafe is reporting that Ford is committed to Supercars for at least another year despite ongoing Gen3 parity concerns. “We’d love to be in a stronger position on the track,” Birkic told the Speedcafe Newscast podcast. “We’re backing our teams. They know what they’re doing. We’re committed to racing in 2024.”
The World Rally Championship (WRC) will have a new tire supplier from 2025 onwards after Pirelli decided against continuing its contract. When asked by Autosport to elaborate on its call not to continue in WRC, Pirelli boss Mario Isola revealed that cost saving was not part of the decision. He also reiterated that the company will continue to develop products for rallying.
BlackBook Motorsport explains how CryptoData plans to bring the Red Bull model to MotoGP. “Bogdan Maruntis, head of global strategy at CryptoData hopes that, in six or seven years, CryptoData can level the playing field for satellite teams. This is all part of an overarching plan that, beyond satellite teams, draws inspiration from the Red Bull model in Formula One.”
Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) has announced that a series of landmark zoning approvals granted by the city of Dawsonville will pave the way for “an exhilarating expansion that promises to offer even more heart-pounding experiences for motorsports enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Ferrari renews F1 partnership with Puma (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Oracle (ORCL) Cloud & Red Bull Team up to Build Hybrid Engine (ZACKS)
- Microsoft Xbox becomes the Official Console Partner of BWT Alpine F1 team (Neowin)
- Rebellion Timepieces confirmed as title partner for 2023 Gulf Historic Dubai GP Revival (Arabian Business)
- ITC Extends Extreme E Broadcast Deal (Sports Industry News)
- NASCAR brings on Catapult as official supplier of race control systems (Sports Business Journal)
- Jordan Brand using NASCAR paint scheme to promote upcoming shoe line (Sports Business Journal)
- Aston Martin F1 expand and extend AvaTrade partnership (BlackBook Motorsport)
- MotoGP confirms IndianOil as title sponsor of Indian Grand Prix (BlackBook Motorsport)
- What the top 2023 climate trends mean for sponsorship (ESA)
- Nascar teams up with Hutch for standalone mobile game (Blackbook Motorsport)
- IWC Partners With F1 Icon Lewis Hamilton for Cool New Chronograph (Maxim)
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- Prema to Drop LMP2 Program Next Year to Focus on LMDh (Sportscar 365)
- Porsche Penske Eyeing Three-Car Le Mans Effort in 2024 (Sportscar 365)
- Andretti Set for Full-Season GTD Effort With Aston Martin Evo (Sportscar 365)
- Frikadelli to Return to NLS With New 296 GT3 (Sportscar 365)
- Ferrari Evaluating Potential 499P Upgrades Ahead Of Testing (DailySportsCar)
- Saintéloc Hoping To Take Audi To Le Mans With Asian LMS Auto-Invite (DailySportsCar)
- Corvette Z06 GT3.R “Really Interesting” Prospect for EBM (Sportscar 365)
- Isotta Fraschini ‘evaluating’ possibility of two cars in WEC (Motorsport Week)
- Cusick targets IndyCar entry at Thermal Club (Racer)
- Trackhouse Racing’s Signing Of Zane Smith Shows Long-Term Growth Plans (Forbes)
- Spire acquires Live Fast charter in new partnership with Trackhouse (Racer)
- Comtoyou: Staying With Audi “An Option” for 2024 (Sportscar 365)
- IMSA teams preparing for new and upscaled programs in 2024 (Racer)