It has been a busy week in the Business of Motorsport as there have been numerous developments related to sponsorships, changes of administration, increased cryptocurrency action, SPACs going public and more. Here are just a few of the things that happened since the last Business of Motorsport round-up.
Formula 1 News
- If you have followed Formula 1 for any length of time it is astonishing to see how its popularity has increased as a result of Drive to Survive and its increased presence on various social media platforms, something that would never have happened in the Bernie era. Well Ellie Norman, Formula 1’s marketing boss is stepping down stating: “I have completed what I set out to do at F1, and it’s time for my next challenge.” No news yet on her replacement.
- It has been announced that Heineken is replacing Rolex as the Australian Grand Prix title sponsor. Rolex had been the title sponsor of the Australian Grand Prix since 2013.
- McLaren Racing’s Zak Brown has certainly not been shy in stating his thoughts on the current state of Formula 1 and its governance as he has argued that some teams are ‘holding F1 hostage’ and that B teams are still a problem. It is refreshing to hear him state out loud what I am sure many are thinking.
- Cutting down on what many had considered unnecessarily expensive development, BBS has been named as the official F1 wheel supplier for 2022. One rim to rule them all!
- Finally, continuing with the cryptocurrency/NFT wave, Scuderia AlphaTauri has increased their partnership with Fantom. They describe Fantom as “one of the fastest and most eco-friendly smart contract platforms in the world.”
- Big news in the world of Supercars as Shane Howard has been confirmed as the new CEO. In addition to the naming a new CEO, it was also announced that Mark Skaife will oversee a heavily revised Supercars Commission as part of the category’s new ownership structure.
- Supercars chairman Barclay Nettlefold describes the the reaction to Howard’s appointment as CEO as ‘overwhelming’ while the leading teams in the championship are praising the move as well.
- And what is one of Howard’s priorities? He wants Supercars to race outside Australia again.
- As Formula E gets ready for the launch of the last season running their Gen2 car, they have announced that Matt Scammell, commercial director at Liverpool, is set to join the championship as its new chief commercial officer.
- Formula E has also announced India as a potential venue for the 2022-23 season. The first race is expected to be held between December 2022 and March 2023 at a 2.3km circuit overlooking the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, one of the largest cities in the country.
- Formula E has also announced an agreement with Copper for the company to be their ‘official digital asset services partner.’
- Finally, with all the recent positive developments in Formula E, The Race discusses the possible driver “brain drain” the series may suffer with the growth of LMDh/LMDH teams in sports car racing and the possible conflicts of interest that may have leading drivers choosing sports cars over the electric series.
Miscellaneous Motorsport Business News
- A special purpose acquisition company started by Michael Andretti closed on a $200 million initial public offering last week and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Forbes looks into the strategy behind Andretti Acquisition Corp. and points out that the plans do not include purchasing a race team. Class A ordinary shares trade under the ticker symbol “WNNR” and the public warrants trade under symbol “WNNR WS,”
- Honda has united their car and motorcycle racing programs under the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) banner. “In order to fulfill the expectations of motorsports fans and Honda fans and customers all around the world, we will continue devoting our energy to motorsports, through the ‘new’ HRC that integrates our motorcycle and automobile racing activities,” Honda director, president and CEO Toshihiro Mibe says.
- PRI has a great article on understanding the big-money bracket racing phenomenon in the United States.
- In what appears to be a perfect match, former Porsche factory racing boss Pascal Zurlinden has joined Multimatic as the company’s director of performance engineering.
- With the departure of Mike Krack to the Aston Martin F1 team, BMW has named Andreas Roos as the new head of BMW M Motorsport starting February 1st.
- Toyota Gazoo Racing has expanded its footprint to the NHRA. For TGRNA NHRA drivers competing in the Funny Car class, they will debut the new GR Supra body while those drivers competing in the Top Fuel category will also carry Toyota Gazoo Racing North America colors for all 22 NHRA national events.
- Steve Bortolotti of Pfaff Motorsports describes the team’s new challenge as they move to IMSA GTD PRO with their iconic plaid livery.
- Blackbook Motorsport has released their World Rally Championhip 2022 commercial guide featuring every team, every sponsor and all the major rights deals.
- Animoca Brands the company behind Formula 1’s blockchain-based mobile game has raised US$358m to fund its its vision of an ‘open metaverse’ based on blockchain technology.
That is it for this week’s Business of Motorsport news round-up. See you next Friday for more Business of Motorsport news. Please make sure you take some time out of your busy Saturday tomorrow from following the Roar Before the 24, 6 Hours of Abu Dhabi, Formula 4 UAE and the Formula Regional Asian Championship (to mention just a few series!) to catch up with the latest Sustainable Motorsport news in the weekly Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up that is published every Saturday. Thanks for reading and stay safe!