Thomas Maher is the chief editor and co-founder of FormulaSpy.com, a very interesting website focusing on Formula 1 and Formula E. Today Thomas shares his insights with us about the top 10 brands Formula 1 could add to the list of sponsors.
Prior to the Liberty Media buyout of Formula 1 towards the end of 2016, computing giant Apple was rumoured to be interested in taking over. This didn’t come to pass, but the links between the two parties do make sense. Both are at the forefront of technology, and Apple does appear to harbour a desire to enter the automotive world through “Project Titan” – the rumoured autonomous electric car.
CEO Tim Cook has said: “We are always looking at new things, and the car space in general is an area that it’s clear that there is a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionise the car experience. And so it’s interesting from that point of view, but nothing to, certainly nothing to announce today”. Teaming up with the likes of McLaren, a clinical, technological team with no title sponsor would certainly be an interesting match-up.
The Coca-Cola company has dabbled with Formula 1 sponsorship in the form of the Burn energy drink, however not with their eponymous offering. Probably due to the fact that Coke is one of the few brands in the world that doesn’t actually really need to advertise their existence, thanks to the prevalence of the drink everywhere. However, the company is hugely involved with the NASCAR world, and it has enjoyed links with the Stewart-Haas team. Come to think of it, Coke’s colours would look really nice on the Haas Formula 1 car…
We are always looking at new things, and the car space in general is an area that it’s clear that there is a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionise the car experience.
The world’s leading fast food chain’s golden arches are as iconic as the script of Coca-Cola, yet don’t appear in Formula 1 either. While you can say that the product doesn’t really fit with the sport’s fitness image, you don’t see nutritional companies queueing up to sponsor anyone either. With the willingness to sponsor the Olympics (98 million dollars to continue sponsoring until 2020) sometimes met with controversy, why not switch to another globally massive sport? McDonald’s has sponsored IndyCar and NASCAR, so a move to Formula 1 might be not that unrealistic.
Codemasters, the computer game developers from the UK have held the licence to produce the official Formula 1 computer games since 2008. But you don’t see their logos appear on any of the cars. With the market for such computer games being a more niche one than, say, the FIFA series, you would imagine that Codemasters would want to get their name out there and in the faces of every Formula 1 fan watching a race.
Three (Hutchison 3G)
One of the world’s biggest mobile phone networks, Three operates throughout most of Europe, the Middle East, Australia and some of Asia. While affiliate operator Orange is remembered fondly for the title sponsorship of the Arrows team around 15 years ago, Three has yet to dabble. Purely for the aesthetics, let’s hope the company steps in and sponsors Red Bull at some point soon, if only just to match all the other 3s written all over the car.
The umbrella company for brands like Optimum Nutrition, BSN and Nutramino have athletes like MMA’s Conor McGregor representing them, while sponsoring FC Kobenhavn and the likes of successful Irish rugby teams Leinster and Ulster. Nutrition companies have been on cars in recent years, like Maximuscle on the rear wing of the 2012 McLaren. In a sport that requires exceptional physical fitness, supplements and nutrition are a given, yet are not well represented to the watching public.
Dell isn’t actually a stranger to Formula 1 at all: it was on the engine cover of the Manor MR05 in the form of Dell EMC, right after the merger of Dell and EMC. Prior to that, the company sponsored the now-defunct Caterham team, and was prominent while partnered with BMW-Sauber a decade ago. Just over six months ago, the merger of corporations Dell and EMC was the largest technology merger ever and the companies’ revenues of 74 billion dollars in 2016 makes it the largest private technology company in the world. The perfect partner for one of the most technologically advanced sports, then!
The short-haul airline is almost single-handedly responsible for getting the majority of attendees to any Grand Prix in Europe, yet don’t shout about their affordability to Formula 1 fans. With the sport moving around every weekend, flights are not optional in most cases if you want to go to a race. Stick some Ryanair branding on a car (I can see it looking good on Sauber, and this would suit the team’s lower budget, no-frills image), and watch those seats sell.
BMW has been quiet at the pinnacle of motorsport in recent years. Aside from DTM, BMW has had to look on while Mercedes has dominated Formula 1, and Audi was at the forefront of WEC until the end of 2016, BMW’s involvement has been a small tie in with Andretti in Formula E as well as supplying the Safety Car. Ever since abandoning Sauber at the end of 2009, BMW’s decision to withdraw has looked silly, particularly with manufacturers like Honda and Renault returning in recent years. With the M cars now being turbocharged, and a history of manic turbo Formula 1 engines, I’m sure McLaren would love to have a chat…
Sex sells, yet Formula 1 doesn’t sell it. At least not in the form of advertising. Durex may not be the largest condom manufacturer in the world, but the brand is synonymous with the product itself. “Burning rubber” – the taglines write themselves!