There have been stories kicking around about Coca-Cola coming into F1 for some time. The idea makes no sense if it is related to the main Coke brand as this does not need any more global exposure than it already has and using F1 to engage with fans is not an easy task. However the Coca-Cola Corporation is not a one-trick pony and has a raft of different brands that would fit nicely with F1. The obvious choice would be one of the company’s energy drink brands, so that the company would be highly visible and up against the primary rival in that market, Red Bull.
Red Bull is dominant in the global market with an estimated 40 percent of the market but there is increasing rivalry as other firms try to tap into a market that is estimated to be worth $37 billion a year. The industry reckons that as new markets are developed the money generated will go up to $52 billion by 2016, with the US leading the way with 37 percent of the total, but Asia not far behind with 30 percent. There are still quite a lot of regional players but the world’s leading brands are now Red Bull, Monster and Burn. Red Bull we already know about. Monster is a drink that is owned by Hansen Natural and which has about 35 percent of the market. The third biggest seller is deemed to be Burn, a Swedish drink that has been successful all over the world and is now sold in 80 countries. This is distributed by the Coca-Cola Company and is its most successful energy drink. Thus, if Coca-Cola is planning to come into F1 it is likely to be with Burn.
Talk of the deal going to McLaren is rather misplaced as McLaren has a major partnership going on with GlaxoSmithKline, which markets a number of energy and sports drinks, notably Lucozade.