The Formula One group is constantly in search of new sponsors. It is a bizarre situation in that the group is actually in competition for sponsors with the F1 teams and they often end up sharing the take, with similar sponsorship appearing on the cars and on the trackside advertising. This is recommended as being the most effective way to get a sponsor’s message across, although there are some companies such as Red Bull that steer away from all static advertising, preferring to be seen moving.
Formula One have never been very active in terms of official partnerships, preferring a number of big deals rather than a plethora of smaller ones. NASCAR, by comparison, has nearly 40 such deals which includes official banks, credit cards, cars, trucks, haulers, tyres, automotive finish, auto batteries, motoroil, insurance, delivery service, and even more esoteric partnerships covering different classes of drink, health products, shaving equipment, chocolate bars, cookies and crackers, office supplies and even building products supplies.
There is, of course, money to be made from such deals and so as The Formula One group continues to squeeze every possible dollar from the business, there is talk of expanding this area, particularly now that the old Allsport Management is being more closely integrated into the Formula One group in London. Thus far we have seen Rolex named as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece for a long-term deal that begins in 2013. This means that Hublot is no longer the Official Watchmaker of F1. It would also seem to suggest that Korean conglomerate LG has dropped out as well, although this is yet to be confirmed. LG Electronics was a Global Partner of Formula One and a Technology Partner, with marketing rights as the official Consumer Electronics, Mobile Phone and Data Processor of Formula One, with its logos appearing on F1 timing screens. The deal began in 2009. With Rolex likely to get the coverage on the screens, the latest suggestion is that the Formula One group is looking for a mobile phone deal, which seems to indicate that the LG deal has run its course. It probably has not helped that the Korean GP has been a complete disaster.
There is no word at the moment as to whether the deal with Allianz will continue. The German insurer is an “Official Global Partner” and uses the deal to promote its connections with road safety. The Swiss bank UBS is also an Official Global Partner, in a deal which began in September 2010, so that is unlikely to be up for renewal until at least next autumn. There have been rumours in recent weeks that Mastercard may come is as the official credit card of Formula One and there has been talk of a deal with Citi for some kind of financial affiliation, but that was before there was a change of management in October. It is worth noting that Dermot Boden, the man who did the F1 deal for LG, is now the chief brand officer of Citi. However, since the company appointed Michael Corbat as its new CEO, replacing Vikram Pandit, the company has announced that it is slashing 11,000 jobs and making savings of $900 million next year and $1.1 billion annually beginning in 2014. Thus it is probably not the right time for the firm to be launching into the sport.
India’s Tata Communications is the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula and Official Web Hosting and Content Delivery Network Provider for Formula One, with a deal that began in February this year, while DHL is the Official Logistics Partner and has been for the last eight years.