Formula 1 is ‘extremely healthy commercially’
By Mat Coch
Monday 28th February, 2022 - 2:31pm
Formula 1 is entering something of a commercial golden age according to a number of the sport’s team bosses.
The 2022 season will feature a record 23 races while off-track there has been a significant amount of investment across the paddock.
Red Bull and Aston Martin have both welcomed strong new backing from the likes of Oracle and Aramco, while Alfa Romeo Sauber has added a swathe of new partners in recent weeks.
Add in the fact F1 now operates under a cost cap, set at $140 million this season, and a sport that once looked financially vulnerable instead looks a sound investment.
That’s evidenced by news of Michael Andretti’s efforts to stand up an all-new F1 team after his efforts to purchase Sauber last year failed.
“I think the sport’s extremely healthy commercially,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing.
“We’ve got a record number of grands prix, with more grands prix queuing up.
“TV’s extremely strong, digital’s very strong. Netflix has been wonderful. So you kind of put all that together, including obviously the on-track competition, and Formula 1’s extremely attractive to corporate partners.”
Brown’s view is shared by Fred Vasseur, team boss at Alfa Romeo Sauber.
“I think it’s a combination [of factors], but first the hype around F1 is mega, we saw it last year at different events,” the Frenchman explained.
“We had the biggest number of spectators of the F1 live in Austin last year, [that] was a mega event, and the TV audiences are growing.
“I think that we are very, very attractive as a sport, more and more, and as a team also because we have ambitions,” he added.
“I think that we are building a strong project with new sponsors.
“It’s a great feeling, so sorry if we bother you with the press releases, but it’s a great feeling to have new sponsors joining the team every day!”
Brown’s background is marketing, having run the hugely successful JMI, a company he founded in 1995 before selling in 2013.
Coupled with his role at the helm of McLaren, a team which is also on the rise, it offers him a unique perspective on the current market.
“We’re now north of 45 partners of between our racing properties and our licensees,” he explained of McLaren’s current commercial position.
“We brought in over 10 new partners this year, some of the biggest fortune 500 companies, and so has our competition, and Formula 1 as a league itself.
“So I think the sport is very strong commercially, and I think that’s good news for all of us.”
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