Sponsorship in Formula One, 2019

Top team deals

Phillip Morris International’s (PMI) sponsorship of Scuderia Ferrari is the biggest Formula One team deal of 2019. The four-year agreement, from 2018 to 2021, is understood to be worth about $180m (€160.7m) per season.

In its previous deal, from 2015 to 2017, PMI paid about $160m per season, with the option to sell branding rights back to Ferrari if other partners wanted to come on board.

This season, PMI’s new brand image campaign, ‘Mission Winnow’, has become the focus of the partnership. Mission Winnow aims to raise awareness of PMI’s corporate vision of a smoke-free future for its reduced-risk tobacco products.

The team was initially renamed Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, with the Mission Winnow logo and brand name appearing prominently on the car, driver’s overalls and helmet. This level of branding has been scaled back to comply with tobacco-related advertising policy in some Formula One host markets, such as Australia.

UK racing team McLaren has signed a similar deal with British American Tobacco (BAT) to promote its mission slogan, ‘A Better Tomorrow’, and its reduced-risk alternatives to tobacco. BAT is taking a market-by-market approach to the use of its campaign marks.

Four teams have entered the 2019 season with new title sponsors.

Telco brand ROKiT signed a title deal with Williams in February, taking over the title rights held by Martini from 2014 to 2018.

Carmaker Alfa Romeo expanded its $15m-per-season title deal with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team – as the team was known last season – to rebrand the team as Alfa Romeo Racing for an additional $5m per year.

UK energy drink brand Rich Energy signed with Haas, despite having reached advanced negotiations with Williams.

Kenyan bookmaker SportPesa signed a cut-price deal as title sponsor of Racing Point, paying $8m in year one and $12m in year two. This falls below the $15m per year paid by Racing Point’s principal partner BWT (Best Water Technology).


Central deals

Formula One’s first regional partnership was a 2018 deal with Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, covering China, Italy and Mexico.

Petronas was looking to strengthen its existing position in the sport by building on its title deal with Mercedes. The deal opened a new category for Formula One following Liberty Media’s takeover of the property, but it remains Formula One’s only regional partnership to date.

Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing subsidiary of Amazon.com, is the first Global Partner to have signed since Liberty Media took over. AWS’s designation as the ‘Official Cloud and Machine Learning Provider’ leaves the technology category open to further sub-categories at Global Partner level.


Team deals

More than half of Formula One teams have seen a reduction in the total number of deals within their portfolios.

The biggest drop in total number of deals was at Racing Point following the buyout and rebranding of the Force India team by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll in August last year. Stroll’s son Lance, who drove for Williams in 2018, has moved to Racing Point for the 2019 season, taking sponsors Bombardier and Canada Life with him.

Red Bull Racing increased its total number of deals by 60 per cent from 15 to 24. The top tier of sponsors sees the addition of Honda through its new engine supply deal, replacing Renault from this season.

The team has boosted the number of deals in the tier below, including Asian-facing betting brand W66.com and cryptocurrency brand FuturoCoin, the first cryptocurrency deal with a Formula One team.




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