Sustainable luxury


The jewel in Formula 1’s crown, the Monaco Grand Prix is the most iconic, prestigious and luxurious race to attend. This event has an official capacity attendance of 37,000 for race day (22,000 in grandstands) but in fact, many more attend the race on yachts and balconies overlooking the track. Up to 200,000 views the race weekend across all three days. So how can we make this experience sustainable? 

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The large majority of race attendees are above average income to high net worth individuals. During race weekend, Monaco is full of celebrities, actors, sports stars and the world’s business leaders. It is the combination of venues, history and audience that attracts many of the world’s premium and luxury brands to Formula 1 as partners, the most prominent sector being timing partners/watch brands with Rolex, IWC, Tag Heuer, Richard Mille, Hublot, Bell & Ross and Oris all being involved. Fashion brands involved include Tommy Hilfiger, Ray-Ban and Hackett, whilst the likes of Emirates, Bombardier and NetJets seek to win over the jet set, Riva for those that like to enjoy life at a slower pace and UBS those with vast assets and investment portfolios.

Of course, the impact of the Monaco GP extends beyond the race weekend itself and provides an opportunity for many of these brands to story tell, and leverage both luxury and premium values throughout the year, helping to build aspiration for their brand. The Monaco Grand Prix is the perfect place to market to those that “live life well”… but will it continue to be so?

Authenticity is the bedrock of reputation and it’s under such constant scrutiny that any brand to trumpet a sustainable message whilst sponsoring Formula 1 to open itself up to criticism.

James Parrish

The concept of luxury is fluid and there’s a significant change happening in the luxury and premium categories with “sustainable luxury” on the rise. Companies in the premium categories have previously relied on exclusivity, quality and brand, but genuine sound environmental and social credentials are now gaining traction amongst brand leaders and with consumers. The Kering luxury group, LVMH, Swarovski and Prada are just a few brands in the premium and luxury categories that are now focusing on sustainable values, operations and products.

As long as Formula 1 maintains the premium positioning, is aspirational, and attracts a high number of wealthy individuals, in the short-term brands in the premium and luxury sectors will continue to effectively use the sport to drive global growth. However, authenticity is the bedrock of reputation and it’s under such constant scrutiny that any brand to trumpet a sustainable message whilst sponsoring Formula 1 to open themselves up to criticism. Sustainability and environmental credentials are a subject that, rightly or wrongly, Formula 1 has always struggled with; the general perception isn’t a positive one.

The sport does have some green credentials though – for example; the most energy-efficient internal combustion engines ever produced, sustainably transported equipment, and state-of-art and super energy-efficient facilities like McLaren’s Technology Centre.

Considering most of Formula 1’s rights holders have a timing partner and it was a sustainable luxury that was shining at Baselworld in March, perhaps now it should start bringing those greener initiatives and credentials to people’s attention.

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