Sergio Garcia B., a brilliant driver promoter and coach, gives his professional insights on how to make perspective drivers into racing stars.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
Ideally, the best way for a driver to be noticed by Formula 1 should be by his own racing results, but in recent times it has become highly important to have a strong marketing and communication campaign. And the driver’s manager must do very well when dealing with Formula 1 teams in various business meetings. To be exact, Formula 1 people are now looking for quality drivers with impressive public relations strategies and, of course, with a solid budget or sponsorship.
All the drivers have had a lot of pressure to obtain the best results they can ever since they were kids. It’s crucial that we teach them all of the career steps very, very slowly. Some racers are born with perfect communication skills to become Formula 1 drivers and all of these qualities are innate due to their own character. On the other hand, most young drivers need to learn everything about this “new marketing world” and always have their public image in mind. In order to have it all, a promising driver needs special psychological preparation, great knowledge of social networking and a huge empathy in human relationships. Formula 1 drivers are usually thrown into a luxury world and their image should fit the sponsor’s needs.
Probably the biggest obstacle for a talented driver to get into Formula 1, unfortunately, still is the budget. Racers literally need millions to develop their motorsport career, and sponsors play the main role in this “dream”. Because of this situation, every driver must possess excellent verbal interaction skills, be a master of social media, body language, and have the ability to build lasting human relationships within the team, with the fans, sponsor and especially journalists. Any sponsor needs constant positive feedback from the driver, so the driver’s image becomes the main tool to get the brand image to the public.
Motorsport is one of the best showcases for international brands as well as for countries. Surely, every country would like to have at least one Formula 1 driver, because then it would be associated with particular luxury and the entire world would see the national flag on international TV. This may be essential to attract tourism and investors. Lately “national companies” are supporting drivers with obvious business intentions and I’m absolutely sure that will be seeing more and more of this in the next years.
Talking in general, the Formula 1 grid is directly linked with the global economy. If your country is an emerging economy, it’s the perfect platform to have a sensational Formula 1 driver. I’m confident that we will see powerful Formula 1 drivers from countries like the UAE, and we may have an Asiatic or Arabian Formula 1 champion really soon.
Formula 1, as an industry and both as a sport, ought to innovate and make changes in their marketing strategy to maintain and develop everything that it has been building throughout the years. Accordingly, the drivers must move on to grow together with the sport – they have to become more complete. As I said before, it’s not enough to be an excellent racer, strategist and car developer – now the driver should become a genius at communication and a victor at branding battles.