Paddock magazine December 2014 / January 2015 Issue 70 - Page 39

COLUMNS company Martini to Formula 1. The Williams livery featured the iconic Martini colors on a white background and no doubt Martini was pleased with their exposure given the resurgence of Williams. In fact, Martini attributed a growth in market share in 2014 to the Williams partnership. Williams also started the year with new sponsorships from Petrobas, Banco do Brasil and insurance business Genworth, and gained support from the Esquire magazine brand. The team’s sponsorship managers didn’t rest on their laurels though, at the end of the season they picked up two sponsors that had been with the Lotus F1 Team – Unilever’s Rexona brand and Avenade, a technology business. McLaren Mercedes The end of the 2013 season signaled the end of Vodafone’s title sponsorship at McLaren. McLaren had intended to announce a replacement sponsor at that time, and the announcement still has not yet taken place. The non-announcement of a new title sponsor could represent one or two things: one item could be the difficulty of securing a title sponsorship investment in the current economic environment; the other is R on Dennis’ reported reluctance to lower the cost of the sponsorship in light of the team’s recent performance. Dennis reportedly is holding fast to his belief in the value of McLaren and isn’t willing to accept less than historic amounts for a title sponsorship. Only Dennis and McLaren management know how long they can hold out with that position. In lieu of a title sponsor, McLaren gave more prominence on its sidepods to existing sponsors Johnnie Walker and SAP. Another rock got in McLaren’s path as their apparel sponsor Hugo Boss announced a change of allegiance to Mercedes AMG Petronas. The McLaren / Boss partnership began back in 1981, making it one of the longest running sponsorships in the industry. Boss made the change as they had begun to work with Mercedes Benz on promotions outside Formula 1, leading to a conflict with their McLaren sponsorship. Toymaker Lego recently decided to pass on the opportunity to sponsor McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen. Lego CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp stated that “the sponsorship did not fit Lego’s brand”. That seems like a right decision in light of Bernie Ecclestone’s preference for older Rolex-wearing fans... Not all was grim for McLaren though. The 2014 season marked the 20th anniversary of McLaren’s partnership with ExxonMobil, focused on the Mobil and Mobil 1 brands. And we also saw the return of Segafredo Zanetti, the Italian coffee brand, after a 20-year absence from Formula 1. Segafredo sponsored McLaren between 1984 and 1986, and was involved with the sport in other ways until the death of Aryton Senna in 1994. 070 / December 2014 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Prior to picking up the Hugo Boss sponsorship, Mercedes announced new sponsorships from UBS and Swissquote, a Swiss bank. UBS seem to have diverted some of their prior spending on the F1 series sponsorship to partner with the Mercedes team. A multi-year extension to the existing partnership with Petronas, the Malaysian oil and fuel supplier, was announced in May. Then late in the season Mercedes announced the extension of three other partnerships – with Puma and Starwood, the hotel business, and timepiece company IWC Schaffhausen. Sahara Force India Force India had a virtual turnover of their sponsorship partners, having secured new sponsorship from Smirnoff, the Mexican telecom group Claro, Kazakh sports club Astana and drinks company Gatorade. The team also gained sponsorship from international pharmaceutical group Auden McKenzie. And thanks to help from driver Sergio Perez, Mexican companies Consorcio Aristos, a construction firm, and FICREA, a financial institution, partnered with the team. Other Teams Lotus F1 announced a sponsorship from Saxo Bank, a Danish investment bank, at the beginning of the season. Saxo sponsors a well-known pro cycling team and entered Formula 1 for the first time with this partnership. Sauber F1 announced Unifin as a new premium sponsor of the team along with the extension of their existing partnership with Interproteccion, both financial institutions from Mexico. The companies joined the team in alignment with the presence of driver Esteban Guitierrez. Those sponsorships may be at risk since Sauber have not retained Guitierrez for 2015. Prophecies The 2015 season will definitely bring new cars along with new sponsorships. Some changes will be “natural” as contracts come to a close and new partnerships are formed. Other changes will be driven by changes in driver line-ups, such as at Sauber with Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr replacing Esteban Guitierrez and Adrian Sutil. In fact, it has already been announced that Banco do Brasil will have a presence on the Sauber cars due to the bank’s partnership with Nasr. The controversy over sponsorship by alcohol drink companies is a sword hanging by a thread. It perhaps puts the sport in a more delicate position than the tobacco controversy provided. Clever thinking, programming and positioning will be needed to maintain the status quo on that topic. Bill Herring Bill Herring is Principal at Out Front Marketing, LLC in Austin, Texas. He can be reached on or by visiting outfrontmarketing. “The controversy over sponsorship by alcohol drink companies is a sword hanging by a thread. It perhaps puts the sport in a more delicate position than the tobacco controversy provided.” 39