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Formula E buoyed by Julius Baer and Saudia sponsorship renewals

Felipe Massa officially launches the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Photo by Neville Hopwood/Getty Images)

Swiss private banking group Julius Baer has agreed a two-season extension to its global sponsorship of Formula E, while the electric racing series has retained Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) as title sponsor of its season-opening event in Diriyah.

The deals have been signed as Formula E commences its 2019-20 campaign today (Friday) with the Saudia Diriyah E-Prix double-header. Julius Baer has partnered Formula E since its formation in 2014, and having last extended its deal in May 2017, the new contract takes the association through to the end of the 2022-23 season.

Serving as an exclusive global partner, Julius Baer has activated at each event along with receiving trackside branding and putting its name to the pole position award, which sees the fastest driver in qualifying receive three bonus points.

The double deals come after it was reported in September that Formula E will exceed revenues of €200m ($221m) when it lodges its accounts for the 2018-19 period and will report a profit for the first time since its launch in 2014.

This comes with Formula E having reported operating losses of €26.4m and €20.8m in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 periods, respectively. Sponsorship, which accounts for close to half of all revenues, has enjoyed a 25-per-cent year-on-year increase given new deals signed during the 2018-19 period with Bosch, Heineken, Moët & Chandon and Saudia.

Commenting on the Julius Baer extension, newly-appointed Formula E chief executive Jamie Reigle said: “Julius Baer got behind Formula E’s vision from the beginning, even before turning a wheel in Beijing in the first season, and we very much look forward to building on our shared successes together.”

Philipp Rickenbacher, chief executive of Julius Baer, added: “Julius Baer played a significant role in the ground-breaking start of the series and we continue to support it now that it has successfully evolved into an indispensable championship. With its unique approach and mission to foster innovation towards more sustainable mobility, it reflects the spirit of the times and is attracting ever more interest worldwide.”

Saudia title sponsored the inaugural Diriyah E-Prix last season, and is also the official airline partner for the Formula E series in a deal that began last season. It is the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, and flies to more than 95 destinations worldwide.

Reigle remarked: “The 2018 event made history as the first Formula E race to be held in the Middle East and it was a huge success together with Saudia as title sponsor. We are looking to build upon last year’s momentum and get season six off to a flying start with even closer racing and the most competitive grid in motorsport.”

This weekend’s opening Formula E event in Diriyah, a UNESCO world heritage site, will feature two races – one each on Saturday and Sunday.