Who will be powering F1 in 2026 is becoming clearer as the FIA have released the list of registered power unit manufacturers for the 2026-2030 period. Two questions have been raised namely, where is Porsche and what is Honda up to?
In addition to these F1 developments, I bring you the costs that Grand Prix promoters are paying Liberty Media, more details on the F1/FIA battle of the wills, the results of the ByKolles Vanwall legal battle in Europe, Ford’s WRC future and the early success of Williams F1’s marketing office in New York City.
I also have all the latest motorsport sponsorship deals and partnerships and the latest motorsport movers and shakers. All this and more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport.
Motorsport Industry News
The FIA has named the six F1 engine manufacturers that are registered for 2026-30. Alpine/Renault, Audi, Ferrari, Red Bull Ford, Honda and Mercedes have registered, as has been widely known, with Honda having confirmed it had registered last month. While 5 of the 6 are no surprise, seeing Honda on the list and not Porsche has led to some speculation as to who will go with the Japanese power unit.
While Planet F1 speculates on the four teams that could be tempted to switch to Honda power in 2026, The Race reports that initial contact has been made over a possible McLaren-Honda F1 reunion. As for the rumors of a Gulf/Porsche tie-up with Williams? The Gulf part was correct but Porsche have stated that they were as surprised as anyone over the speculation of them joining up with the team.
Just before I published last week’s Business of Motorsport column, Ford confirmed the rumor that they were joining F1 as they announced a new technical partnership with Red Bull for 2026 and beyond. Racing News365 explains why the Red Bull-Ford partnership is a perfect fit while Autosport reports that according to Ford, an F1 return wasn’t possible without changes to the engine rules.
With Ford coming on board in 2026, a lot of people like myself have wondered about two things. Will Ford badge their new F1 engines as Cosworths and how will the current relationship with Honda be handled? According to Cosworth, an F1 return is not on the radar while a Chinese wall has been erected between Honda and Red Bull after the Ford deal.
Meanwhile, Ford’s American rival General Motors still has their partnership with Andretti Global to work through the bureaucracy to officially become the 11th F1 team on the grid. Total Motorsport explains how Cadillac can learn from Peugeot’s disappointing spell in F1.
Recently in the Business of Motorsport I asked the question, Who Is in Charge of Formula 1? While a growing rift was developing between FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Liberty Media, I can answer the question this week. The person technically in charge of F1 is FIA single seater director Nikolas Tombazis as Ben Sulayem has handed day-to-day F1 duties to Tombazis.
The FIA is stating this was long planned but questions have been raised if this was necessarily so based on the increasing friction between the two parties. Here is where we stand according to various well informed reports.
- Ben Sulayem stepping back from direct F1 involvement (The Race)
- Analysis: How secure is FIA President Ben Sulayem’s position (Racing News365)
- FIA v F1 described as an ‘open war’ with relationship ‘on the edge’ (Planet F1)
- Anonymous team boss on FIA president: ‘Everyone thinks he’s got to go’ (Planet F1)
- Formula 1 wins this round of FIA tussle, but what could it mean for the sport? (Planet F1)
- Domenicali says F1 won’t gag drivers and expects FIA to clarify politics clampdown (RaceFans)
Racing News365 looks at the five prospective F1 teams and what challenges they face. “While the full extent of the submissions will remain secret – a bilateral non-disclosure agreement forms part of the submissions – the final acceptance list will provide pointers as to the processes followed and the relative importance of various criteria. The process itself will be in three phases: Screening of candidates (17 February), full submissions of all data as required (30 April) and final selection (30 June).”
While Las Vegas county officials have approved a plan to shut the city’s Strip for Formula One racing until at least 2032, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, CEO and Chief legal officer for Liberty Media Renee Wilm and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority representative Steve Hill have given an update on preparations and admit that it will be tight to be ready for the race. “We are less than 10 months out, and there is still much to be done. But I am incredibly proud of our amazing team that are working so hard to make this the greatest spectacle in motorsport’s history, if not sport’s overall. And we looking forward to continuing to share new developments and exciting updates as we get closer to race weekend.” The Las Vegas Review Journal has some recent photos of the current construction progress.
While Liberty Media is promoting the Vegas race themselves, Racing News365 has the details of what other Grand Prix promoters are paying and the length of their current contracts.
Newly appointed head of the Circuit Paul Ricard states that politics are to blame for the demise of the French Grand Prix, not F1. “It’s probably the only F1 Grand Prix that’s never had a president come to watch it – except for at Magny-Cours once, when [Francois] Mitterrand attended as part of his political wish for the race to be there. Since then, it’s never happened. The problem is not with the circuit; the problem is the wish of the country.”
The Marketing Society explains how Formula 1 is winning the digital content race. “Platforms such as TikTok and Twitter thrive off users jumping on the latest trend, and F1 is no stranger to this. Across their social channels, they aren’t afraid to lean into viral trends, using TikTok to showcase a more playful side. Be it tapping into cultural highlights, or joining in on the fun of an amusing miscommunication between Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and his race engineer, F1 understands TikTok’s value in capturing a new breed of fan.”
Meanwhile, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke to Sports Business Journal Tech while at Red Bull’s launch event last week to discuss the benefits of auto-racing technologies. “I’m a fan of everything that invokes the limits of physics in the performance of anything that happens in civilization,” he said. “Extreme sports test those limits.”
General Motorsport Industry News
The 2023 FIA WEC HyperCar entry for Vanwall Racing has been thrown into doubt after the long-running case with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) found in favor of the UK-based Sanderson International Marketing concern for the trademarking of road and racing cars under the Vanwall brand.
The timeline to turn Auto Club Speedway into a short track remains undetermined, but the facility will not host a NASCAR race in 2024. “Unfortunately, in ’24, even with the most aggressive timelines, we will not race,” Allen said. “What that timeline is beyond that is still yet to be determined. There (are) just milestones and things we need to get through, not least of which is the design of the racetrack. We’re still working on that.
Croatia Rally injected more than 100 million euros into the Croatian economy in 2022 – a figure that is expected to increase significantly when the nation’s capital Zagreb hosts a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for a third consecutive year this coming April according to the WRC.
Ford remains committed to the World Rally Championship amid its F1 return. “What I can say is, our motorsports plan based upon this, this [F1 return] was an independent decision,” said Rushbrook when asked about Ford’s future involvement in WRC. “We are very committed to motorsports globally. We have changed our strategy in terms of focus on Mustang in all different levels of racing around the world and off-road racing with the Bronco, Ranger, and we include the Puma as a Rally1 and the full pyramid of Fiestas underneath it as part of our off-road strategy.”
Forbes looks at IndyCar’s “Spring Training” at the Thermal Club and how it creates some unique possibilities. “Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles, IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, and such IndyCar owners as Bobby Rahal spent a great deal of time talking to Thermal Club members. Some of those members could possibly hold the key to future sponsorship possibilities for those teams and the series.”
A new social media study shows striking swings in MotoGP’s popularity. An exhaustive analysis of the social networks of MotoGP riders and teams confirms that Marc Marquez has taken over from Valentino Rossi as the series’ most popular figure.
Radical Motorsport has announced the addition of two new dealer partners in Germany. MERTEL Motorsport in Nuremberg and Classic & Speed in Bilster Berg have both been appointed official Radical Motorsport partners in Germany.
New Canadian racetrack Oro Station looks at the future of motorsports and what to expect in the coming years. “It’s worth noting that the future of motorsports is likely to be influenced by broader trends and developments in society, such as changes in consumer preferences, advances in technology, and shifts in the global political and economic landscape. As these factors continue to evolve, the motorsports industry will need to adapt and find new ways to remain relevant and exciting for fans and participants alike.”
The Drive has published a great profile of the SFI Foundation. “The SFI Foundation has been around since 1978 and is a leading authority in developing safety standards for specialty and performance racing equipment, as its website proudly states. These friendly folks recently invited me to take a tour of their facilities and learn more about how they operate—let’s discuss what SFI is, how it tests and develops safety specifications, as well as how it operates as a surprisingly lean operation.”
In Business of Motorsport Notes from the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference, Motorsport Prospects contributing writer Nirupam Singh recently attended the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference and came away with some interesting points to consider concerning the business of motorsport.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- ROOTS Appointed by Ford as Official WRC Social Media Communications Agency
- Sponsorship Trends 2023
- World leading automation firm SCHUNK joins NXT Gen Cup as official partner
- Sauber issue response after concerns raised about Stake branding displayed during C43 launch
- McLaren F1 team land DP World partnership
- Aston Martin F1 team secure Citi deal
- Kenda Tire joins Formula Drift as an official supplier for the Pro Championship
- Avalanche Andretti Formula E Announces Partnership with NAGASE Group
- Nascar agrees multi-year partnership with Ally Financial
- Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers named title sponsor for TA2 in 2023
- Team Penske extends long-running Verizon partnership
- AlphaTauri F1 team extend FlexBox partnership
- Williams Racing Unveils 2023 Sponsors
- Williams Racing and Gulf Oil International announce long-term partnership
- Laser Tools teams with MB Motorsport for 2023
- Red Bull Gains New Team Partner
- Motorsport Showroom Confirms their Place as an Official British Endurance Championship 2023 Sponsor
- MotoGP expands Viaplay broadcast deal with six-year Nordic renewal
- Alfa Romeo F1 team secure Mascot deal
- Aston Martin F1 team tie up AvaTrade and Globe-Trotter deals
The Business of Running a Race Team
Williams is seeing commercial gains from having an office in New York as it looks to leverage the growing number of American races alongside Logan Sargeant and Jamie Chadwick being part of the team. “But we have been investing in a number of Americas of our proposition to partnerships. So I think we are the only team to have an office actually in America – in New York, in Tribeca – we have a large fan engagement team based out of that office which is led by the former senior vice president of fan engagement for the NFL. There are a number of American sports marketing specialists in that team. We’re investing in fan activations around the U.S. races and assets that we have in-market, so when those things come together with Logan and Jamie Chadwick on the academy as well competing in INDY NXT it’s building a center of gravity that is helping us commercially.”
Oracle Red Bull Racing held their car launch event last Friday in Manhattan, becoming the first Formula 1 team to ever host its season preview event on U.S. soil. The team expanded its partnership with Oracle Cloud and announced a deal to make Ford its electric powertrain supplier starting in 2026. Red Bull Racing’s CMO talked to Sports Business Journal on the implications of the Ford deal, working with U.S. tech companies and more.
Autosport has a really interesting article on why some DTM teams take out crash insurance but others gamble and don’t. “However, all teams do not play it as safe as Schubert as the insurance premiums are particularly high in a series like DTM, where crashes are common.”
Guenther Steiner has admitted that Haas aims to achieve further independence from engine supplier Ferrari in the coming years, after seeing the COVID-19 pandemic derail previous such plans. “We are able to independently develop transmissions, suspension and be a more independent team,” Steiner disclosed to the German magazine, Auto Motor und Sport.
Proton Competition will support Iron Lynx’s single-season GTE program with Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series this year. “It’s a collaboration between Iron Lynx, Iron Dames and Proton,” Iron Lynx team principal Andrea Piccini told Sportscar365.
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Former Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass is joining the Jota team ahead of its move into the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship with a new Porsche 963. The 59-year-old began his career in the mid-1990s working on the abortive Bugatti Le Mans project, followed by stints at Audi, Toyota and Lotus F1, before returning to Audi in 2012. There he was initially responsible for the firm’s DTM operations before succeeding Wolfgang Ullrich as head of Audi Motorsport, overseeing the marque’s entry into Formula E.
Mattias Ekström, winner of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, has been announced as Rallycross Promotor’s new Sporting Director. Working closely with Executive Director Arne Dirks, Ekström will help develop and grow World RX as it heads into its second decade as a championship, and its second all-electric season.