How to crowdfund an F1 team

Brabham-Engineer-App

You’ve probably heard about Project Brabham, and if you didn’t, we’re sure you will. It’s a bold new approach for racing that makes motorsport more accessible, more transparent and more engaging to fans. Above all this, it allows a team to be more self-sufficient. “It’s the only way… motor racing is expensive now”, Sir Stirling Moss said about Project Brabham. We have David Brabham, owner of the Brabham Performance Clinic and racing driver at Extreme Speed Motorsports, to tell us everything about this brilliant initiative and the results.

The idea

Once I got the name Brabham back under the family’s control, I then brought in a branding expert to look at the brand and to tell us what the name Brabham means to people and come up with a brand bible. What came out of it was that Brabham means four things – inspiration, pioneering, innovation and engineering, so I looked at what we could do in the future that reflected these core DNA values. I’ve always dreamt of Brabham coming back as a Formula 1 race team again, but I didn’t feel comfortable just coming back as a team because that model is a difficult one to sell. If I bought Brabham back then it needed to make sense in many ways, one that was more sustainable and was bigger than just racing. I worked with a marketing agency to come up with a new and different way to take these ideas to market and so Project Brabham was born. The main idea was to crowdfund an F1 team back into the sport.

The results at the beginning of the first Project Brabham crowdfunding phase were simply fantastic, as the project got global coverage and 50% of the funding came in the first few days. We reached our target of £250k with six days to go and we are now working on the next phases of the project, which is the prospectus for investors and the front end of Brabham Digital. The front end will be an access portal for our community to hear what has been happening behind the scenes since crowdfunding finished.

The project got global coverage and 50% of the funding came in the first few days. We reached our target of £250k with six days to go and we are now working on the next phases.

Lessons

During this experience, I have personally learnt an incredible amount about branding, PR, trademarks, marketing, taking things to market, working with an agency and putting a team together, so it was like being back at school! Being a driver for 31 years shields you from the real world, which is quite a shock, but an exciting process at the same time.

Formula 1 concerns me as I see many issues, like the lower teams not catching up with the bigger teams, because money is even harder to attract. Even the bigger teams are struggling to get the bigger naming rights sponsors, so the market is changing and Formula 1 will need to change as well, but most people don’t like change so it will be fairly difficult. This is what Project Brabham is about, making that change and positioning Brabham in a different way that opens the doors for more opportunities for a team to survive.

As for the whole sport, I would go with what I have experienced when I was in Formula 1 in 1990 – we had prequalifying and then 30 cars qualifying for 26 spots on the grid, so more teams and variety would be better. Obviously, the cost of competing in Formula 1 would have to come down and the revenues would have to be shared more evenly.

To be honest, I don’t see a lot of possibilities for new Formula 1 teams to enter the sport – it’s insanely difficult. Nothing will change unless the thinking does, but we’re all hoping it will.




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