Brian Learst, CEO of QuintEvents, is here to chat about a new and exciting project of high-end racing hospitality – F1 Experiences, also to touch a bit on the global market.
Brian, what’s the essence of F1 Experiences and what can guests expect?
The essence of F1 Experiences is to provide an elevated and unique experience for the guests. The people who engage F1 Experiences want to see the event in a very special way and they are among Formula 1’s most important customers.
What makes F1 Experiences exceptional is access. Only Formula 1 can deliver the behind-the-scenes opportunities to visit pit lane and paddock areas and press conference locales. Another way to put it is that F1 Experiences delivers a higher level of engagement, bringing fans closer to the sport than ever before.
The rundown below will give you an idea of what the guests might expect.
Once people arrive in the race city, they check into their hotels and then take a bus to the circuit. They will then drive around the track – in the bus – to get a great feel for the circuit. Then we’ll take them on a pit lane walk before heading to The Paddock Club for cocktails.
On Friday, there’s racing and hospitality throughout followed by a top-tier party in The Paddock Club with Formula 1 celebrities meeting and greeting plus a tour of the paddock, the media centre and the medical facility. Another group will get to see the Porches and Ferraris in the support race paddock as part of a full evening of activity for them.
Saturday is full of support races, Formula 1 qualifying action and hospitality with celebrities and legendary Formula 1 drivers and personalities and then Sunday witnesses the Formula 1 race with hospitality.
Fans who want to stay in the Haas Team hotel or the Ferrari Team hotel can get those accommodations, pending availability, because we are acquiring those rooms to include in the packages. There will be unprecedented access, including several elements that have never been available before. F1 Experiences will deliver a memorable, seamless experience for all.
What kind of impact do you believe F1 Experiences will have on the sport’s popularity?
F1 Experiences will hopefully have a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport. One of the great things about Formula 1 is the prestige and mystique in addition to the prominence and glamour, especially in Europe. We have the latitude and flexibility to put fans into any race in the series. 20 events in 20 countries. Before, the hospitality packages were regionally marketed, no one was doing it on a global basis. Now, with F1 Experiences as the one provider with the Formula 1 partnership, all of the benefits and amenities are in one place, making all packages more easily customised to what the customers want.
For people whose “bucket list” is to attend all 20 Formula 1 races in those wonderful cities, they have one-stop shopping, reliably provided by the owner of the series. The global customers and multi-national corporations need only go to www.F1Experiences.com, and we can do it.
One of the great things about Formula 1 is all of the cities that host a race are world-class destinations that are in the plans of millions of people.
How should Formula 1 present itself to American fans that are into other racing series?
As most people now know, Formula 1 has dynamic plans for the transformation of the sport into a more accessible, fan-friendly event on all fronts. The Formula 1 Paddock Club has the highest level of hospitality in sports and it had it for years, but people want more and the new management recognises that. The experience is changing for the better. The general fan buying a grandstand ticket will now be able to come to parties and visit the Paddock Club. The United States Grand Prix at Circuit Of The Americas in Austin has been a great platform for Formula 1 in the US. With F1 Experiences, that event will be even better and, as we’ve all heard, there are plans for a strong American footprint.
Formula 1 is the world’s pre-eminent motorsports series with the best drivers, teams and cars. Now, with an American entry in the Haas F1 Team – coming off a great year – we’re going to work to play a role in growing the sport in the United States and in The Americas.
Talking about different markets, in your opinion, should the sport focus more on Europe or on expanding outside of it?
I’m absolutely sure the new Formula 1 management is open-minded and focused on growing the sport the right way. For those of us headquartered here in the US, we’re excited about the pro-active focus on building the sport in America. One of the great things about Formula 1 is all of the cities that host a race are world-class destinations that are in the plans of millions of people.
F1 Experiences delivers a higher level of engagement, bringing fans closer to the sport than ever before.
How has your company QuintEvents changed over the years?
Well, changes have been dramatic. We started with two employees, believing that we could deliver memorable, turnkey experiences for consumers who wanted to do things in a special way. Now, ten years later, we are 55 people and about to open an office in London so we can do great work with Formula 1. We are much more technology-oriented now in all areas – sales, operations and marketing. Almost all of our advertising is now digital. Over the next 6-12 months, we’ll add 20-30 more employees.
We have relationships with 18 major sports organising bodies plus entertainment platforms. We are marketing, selling and servicing 75 events around the world.
Congratulations! And has racing hospitality changed?
Racing hospitality has changed in many ways and it will change more going forward with F1 Experiences. There are now more tiers and more affordable options, along with lower-level programs with more variety in terms of having fans visit the track facilities and meet drivers, celebrities and personalities. There is much greater openness and innovation.
The programmes will continue to evolve and be responsive to what the fans are interested in as they enjoy this great sport.
In terms of corporate hospitality, what could Formula 1 learn from other industries or sports?
What we’ve seen is that it is about fan engagement. Showing the fans a great time and bringing them closer to the sport and their sports heroes. It is an exciting time to be working with the new Formula 1 management and seeing their inclusive approach to providing more to their valued customers.