Idle rumors and speculation in Formula 1 are part of the package in this week’s Business of Motorsport. From rumors of mysterious investors in a new Formula 1 team to speculation on the next moves of a spurned manufacturer, it is all here this week.
In addition to all that I have solid news from the worlds of Formula 1 and NASCAR, developments with the DTM and IndyCar, the impact of the crypto crash on F1 sponsorship, a first-year race team making a major step up, the end of an iconic partnership and much more.
All this in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
Aston Martin says it expects its new Formula 1 facility to be a “gamechanger” for its long-term prospects, as construction enters its final stages. Chris Medland at Racer has a great insight into the building and how the team expects it to change their future.
Organizers of the Formula 1 Australian GP have expanded the grandstand capacity of Albert Park as tickets go on sale for the 2023 event. This year, the expanded grandstands could hold approximately 39,000 spectators, a figure set to expand to around 44,000 next year.
In case you were not paying attention to the details, Sports Illustrated looks at why Porsche’s Red Bull negotiations fell apart.
“Perhaps the most important aspect in negotiations was Porsche’s demands to Red Bull, which reportedly included a 50% stake in the team. As previously mentioned, given that Red Bull is one of F1’s most successful teams, requesting for such a sizable amount of the team seems somewhat disconnected from reality.”
Idle Speculation Part 1: Could McLaren switch to Porsche power in F1 2026?
“Volkswagen, who own Porsche and Audi, have made it clear they are looking to partner Porsche with an existing team rather than create their own and they could even enter the sport solely as an engine supplier.”
Helmut Marko has teased the prospect of Sebastian Vettel taking over his role at Red Bull once he retires.
“It’s not out of the question he will come back in a top management position,” Marko said on Sky while on camera with Vettel, quoted by Motorsport-Total. “I’ll be 80 soon. That would be something! We had a discussion and I think if he could get a top management position, that might appeal to him. That’s what emerged in the talk.”
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem believes some of Red Bull’s Formula 1 rivals wanted the team “hanged” as further punishment for breaching the cost cap.
“I believe that there was a balance between [the financials] and the sporting penalties [handed to Red Bull],” Ben Sulayem explained to media, including RacingNews365.com. “But we learned a lot [from the process] and a big review is going into it, because who knows in the first year [of the cost cap] what is going to be the outcome? [In terms of] the penalty, some of them want [Red Bull] to be hanged, they wanted to see blood, and the teams themselves see this as [a] huge [thing] themselves. So where do we draw [the line]?”
Idle Speculation Part 2: Hong Kong billionaire considering launching new F1 team amid investment talks.
“Not a lot is known about mysterious Hong Kong billionaire Calvin Lo, but his intentions of creating the first new team in a decade appear to be serious. It’s understood Canada-born Lo—chief executive of the biggest life insurance broker in the world—is in talks with ‘a number of teams and drivers’ in the industry to form a new outfit. The 46-year-old boasts an estimated personal wealth of $1.7billion (£1.4bn) and could spearhead a consortium involving some of Asia’s uber-rich, or form a team using his own funds.”
UPDATE: Planet F1 has a great look at Calvin Lo in Meet Calvin Lo: The billionaire bidding to break up the established order in F1.
In the article Women Are Not Barred From Racing in F1. So Why Can’t Any Crack the Grid?, Jezebel conducts a thorough, well researched deep dive into the question of the barriers facing women in reaching F1 and clearly explains the issues and possible solutions. They talked to 20 motorsports drivers, experts, and execs who “lay out the inherent sexism women face in Formula Racing—and the series’ weak attempts to do anything about it.”
“In F1, there are no rules barring women or people of other genders from competing against the mostly white, mostly wealthy male drivers. With vehicles as the great equalizer—making null most arguments claiming “physical differences”—the F1 playing field should, in theory, be even. While there are plenty of women drivers peppered throughout motorsports, it’s been 45 years since the last woman, Italian driver Lella Lombardi, raced in an F1 Grand Prix. The W Series, an all-women racing series that is unaffiliated with F1 but overseen by the same governing body, the FIA, had hoped to springboard drivers into Formula racing but will not finish its 2022 season due to lack of funding. As F1’s own CEO Stefano Domenicali said in September, “Unless there is something like a meteorite, I don’t see a girl coming into F1 in the next five years.”
The Supreme Court of Ohio last Tuesday declared NASCAR the winner in its multiyear dispute with the Ohio Tax Commissioner over whether NASCAR owed over a half-million dollars in back taxes and penalties for business activity conducted outside of the state.
“The ruling sends a message that while the major pro leagues generate revenue in all 50 states, the ability of each state to tax requires compliance with the law.“
According to Sports Business Journal, the Race Team Alliance is deepening its relationship with Wasserman to have the sports marketing agency look into the possibility of holding exhibition races, a potentially stunning development that suggests that NASCAR’s biggest teams could organize their own events in the offseason.
“The RTA is a coalition of NASCAR teams who come together to meet and address issues and opportunities in the sport. Every team that owns one of the sport’s 36 charters are now RTA members. Wasserman was already working with the RTA to help the coalition understand its media value heading into NASCAR’s upcoming rights cycle, for which formal negotiations will start in early 2023. The exhibition exploration is a new, incremental addition to the deal for Wasserman.”
Forbes is reporting that, despite Inflation, NASCAR has enjoyed a banner year when it came to attendance.
“I got to be honest, I’m surprised that we’ve seen the type of consumer numbers that we’ve seen. Our consumer numbers are up over 20%, ticket sales, ’21 to ’22, despite what was happening with the gas prices earlier in the year or obviously the very true inflationary things that are happening.”
Entrepreneur Phyllis Newhouse is interested in owning a NASCAR team, a move that would put her among the first Black female investors in the history of the stock car racing series according to Blackbook Motorsport.
“I see this as an incredible business opportunity,’ she continued. ‘As an entrepreneur and investor, you’re always looking for ways to use your expertise in business, leverage your network and create impact and change needed within any industry.”
General Motorsport Industry News
As I mentioned last week, speculation has been growing that German motoring association ADAC may be buying the DTM. The speculation is getting closer to becoming true as Gerhard Berger has dissolved DTM series promoter ITR amidst ongoing DTM/ADAC talks. “The discussions with ADAC are very constructive, but there is no final decision yet,” said Berger. UPDATE: ADAC completes takeover of DTM from ITR
The World Rally Championship (WRC) has unveiled its new over-the-top (OTT) service Rally.TV, an evolution of the existing WRC+ platform. Subscribers will be able to watch WRC, the European Rally Championship (ERC) and World Rallycross (World RX) when the service is officially launched in mid-2023.
IndyCar president Jay Frye has confirmed that the series will continue with its plans to introduce hybrid engines in the 2024 season following parts supply issues. “There is a global supply chain issue for everything, so doing anything new now has been a little more of a challenge,” said Frye. “It seems to be getting better. I mean, we’re launching this in 2024, so we were in a little bit of a panic because it will be here before you know it. But we feel good about where we’re at with the program.”
Racer.com has great insight into Porsche Motorsport North America’s preparations for 2023.
“Now Holzmeyer and PMNA are in the final stages of preparing for what promises to be a huge year in IMSA for Porsche. The German manufacturer is not only returning to IMSA’s top category — GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) — with the all-new 963 Hybrid built to Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) regulations, but the 911 GT3 R that Pfaff Motorsports used to crush the GTD PRO field in 2022 is being upgraded to the latest “992” specification of the 911.”
Isotta Fraschini have revealed substantial further details of their Michelotto designed and built Tipo 6 LMH-C car which the Italian Boutique EV manufacturer hope to race in the FIA WEC from Spa in 2023 and Daily Sportscar has all the details.
The following two articles are a great look at the changing face of sports ownership:
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Formula 1 will weather the storm caused by the “complete mess” of the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the contagion it triggered, says McLaren boss Zak Brown in Autosport.
“I kind of liken it to the internet when it got started. You had lots of Internet companies. Lots didn’t make it, but then companies like Amazon came out pretty good. I think that’ll be the same with crypto and blockchain. You just had so many people rush towards it. And the end result will be a handful, and I don’t know what that number is, of real serious players. Everyone that I’ve spoken within the financial industry is very bullish on crypto and blockchain as a financial instrument moving forward. And it’s just going to be a case of who are going to be the big players in the space. We’re convinced OKX is going to be one of them and they’ve been rock solid with us.”
Yan Lefort has an insightful look into how meaningful sponsorship has driven change in Formula 1.
“One aspect you cannot ignore is Liberty’s impact on sponsorship in Formula One. It has been extremely strong when it comes to marketing the product. The most obvious and best example is the relationship with Netflix. Their inclusion caused a lot of issues in the paddock and many people didn’t understand why they should have access ahead of other broadcasters that have been there for a long time. It didn’t resonate with some people. But it has proven that if you invest in that kind of marketing, it is possible to actually reach new countries and fans. As a result, the sport is healthier than it has been in decades and that is, partly, thanks to the brands now investing in Formula One.”
UK-based Formula 1 team Oracle Red Bull Racing has announced a global headwear partnership with sports and lifestyle headwear brand New Era. The partnership will see New York-based New Era produce headwear for the five-time constructors champions as well as team driver caps for Sergio Perez and double world champion, Max Verstappen, to wear throughout the 2023 season. The collection will be available to purchase from both New Era and Oracle Red Bull Racing online stores and outlets at the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
McLaren have announced that their iconic F1 partnership with Gulf won’t be extended.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “Our long-standing relationship with Gulf has featured throughout the history of McLaren Racing. We have recorded so many iconic moments together, including our celebrated Monaco livery in 2021. Although this feels like a natural end point to the partnership, there is always room to welcome back old friends as we have done previously.”
“Following a successful first year of partnership with the ground-breaking Formula Woman programme, Shepherd Compello Motorsport Insurance is pleased to announce its continued association for the 2022/23 campaign to find the next female motor racing champions.”
The Business of Running a Race Team
The PHM Racing team will compete in the FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships in cooperation with Charouz Racing System in 2023. The team feels that this is the perfect opportunity to expand into F2 and F3 after they “shook up the establishment” in their first ever campaign in F4 UAE.
Rick Ware Racing will switch Ford partners for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. After working with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2022, they have joined forces with RFK Racing.
“Very excited to be a part of this alliance as we take another step as a team and myself as a driver,” Cody Ware tweeted.
Inter Europol Competition has named its full driving squad for a four-car assault on the Asian Le Mans Series including American youngsters Nolan Siegel and Christian Bogle who are set for their LMP2 debuts. The Polish squad will run a single Oreca 07 Gibson in the top LMP2 class and three Ligier JS P320 Nissans in the LMP3 category.
Continuing his F2 mini-series on F2 Explained, commentator Alex Brundle returns to Carlin Racing with insideF2 to explain the ins and outs of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 team in the video above.
Sportscar365 + looks at the “Unwritten Agreement” that kept CORE autosport going.
“All systems were go for next year. That was until it became apparent that its superstar driver Colin Braun had finally landed what Bennett had called a “magic opportunity” to race a factory-backed LMDh car in the new GTP class.”
Attempto Racing’s Audi entries at the Gulf 12 Hours will run in partnership with Italian organization Tresor, which worked with Car Collection Motorsport earlier this year. Its involvement will see the factory-supported No. 66 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II rebranded under the Audi Sport Team Tresor banner, rather than Audi Sport Team Attempto as previously announced.
Reema Juffali discusses the formation of Theeba Motorsport and their goals for the future. “Our purpose is to increase Saudi participation in motorsport and as we grow, we’re hoping to attract the right kind of commercial partners who align with our goals and share our vision of one day contesting one of the most prestigious and iconic races on the motorsport calendar.”
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
ESPN profiles Mike Shank from Meyer Shank Racing, someone they call the realest team owner in motorsports.
“Shank’s story is among the best in the sport. Born in the small Ohio town of Gahanna, he grew up within the rich amateur racing culture fostered by the Sports Car Club of America. Dreams of driving in the Indy 500 steered his direction in life. Figuring out how to pay for such lofty exploits was the first problem to solve, and that’s where a local heating and ventilation business owner inspired the creation of Michael Shank Racing in 1989.”
Autosport Plus looks at how Red Bull’s dynamic leader, the late Dietrich Mateschitz, shaped the racing team’s F1 philosophy.
“It’s a vision dedicated to, and predicated on, the cult of the can. One can – but billions of its kind sold globally each year. One drink within that can: the sweet, charged, ‘life elixir’ that devotees believe enhances everything from their sex life to their Saturday night out. One proposition: Red Bull Gives You Wings.”
David Noble is the new CEO of Dick Johnson Racing. The 55-year-old former coach of North Melbourne football club takes over from reins from Ryan Story, who will still remain Chairman of the team.