Sep 18 2014

Johnnie Walker Becomes F1 Official Whisky Brand

McLaren Mercedes‘s sponsor Johnnie Walker is extending its reach in the Formula 1 world by becoming the global sport’s Official Whisky.

The deal was announced today ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix by boss Bernie Ecclestone and brand ambassador and Don’t Drink Drive promoter two-time F1 World Champion and former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen in a move to enhance the brand’s global positioning and significantly expand the platform for its highly successful responsible drinking initiative, Join the Pact.


The announcement of the new multi-year arrangement, which also sees JOHNNIE WALKER become the Official Whisky of FORMULA 1, was made today at an event at the Conrad Centennial Hotel in Singapore by Nick Blazquez, President of Diageo in Africa and Asia, ahead of this weekend’s 2014 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX at the Marina Bay street circuit.


Dr Blazquez said JOHNNIE WALKER, as a pioneering whisky brand with a progressive spirit, was the perfect whisky to partner with the world’s most progressive and technologically-advanced sport.


The new partnership greatly strengthens the historical connections that the Walker family has with the world of motorsport and Grand Prix racing which go back to the 1950s. Building on those historic links, in 2005 JOHNNIE WALKER established a partnership with McLaren Mercedes which, over the past nine years, has enabled the brand to deliver successful marketing and responsible drinking programmes around the world.


Speaking at the announcement today, Nick Blazquez said: “Becoming the Official Whisky of FORMULA  1 will enable JOHNNIE WALKER to greatly extend its reach to race fans. As a result of our new arrangement, we will have access to a global television audience of more than 450 million people and a track attendance audience of around 1.5 million every year.


“Equally important, and a key reason for JOHNNIE WALKER to become the Official Whisky of FORMULA 1, is the huge opportunity we have through this expanded global platform to reach even more F1 fans around the world with responsible drinking messages.


“We believe there is great potential in what we can achieve together. The JOHNNIE WALKER Join the Pact campaign is a proven, powerful programme that is already driving positive change. More than 1 million people around the world have signed the Join the Pact pledge to ‘Never Drink and Drive’. We are therefore announcing today our intention to increase our investment behind this programme, activating it in new territories with an ambition of gaining a further five million personal commitments over the next four years.”


Dr Blazquez was accompanied at the announcement by Mika Häkkinen, JOHNNIE WALKER Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador, who said: “Since 2006 I’ve travelled to some 40 countries talking to media, consumers, governments and other stakeholders about the importance of our call to action. Through Join the Pact well over a million people have pledged never to drink and drive, that’s one million people who would never actively have made this commitment without the programme. The new partnership that the brand has forged with the Formula One group is an enormous boost to our campaign and will significantly expand the scale of this wonderful initiative by reaching out to many millions more people around the world.”


Joining Dr Blazquez and Mika Häkkinen on stage was Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group, who said: “This is an exciting sponsorship for FORMULA 1. I have admired the way that JOHNNIE WALKER has entered into their sponsorship of FORMULA 1 to not only achieve commercial benefits but to also highlight the importance of responsible drinking. It is a great example of how an alcohol brand can dedicate time and money to be a force for good.”


The new arrangement reflects historic connections between the Walker family and the world of motorsport and Grand Prix racing which goes back to the 1950s when the late Rob Walker established his own private racing team. His great-great-grandfather was John Walker who founded the whisky business in a small shop in Scotland in 1820.


The Rob Walker Racing Team were pioneering privateers in the world of Grand Prix racing and became the first private team to secure victory in an FIA Formula One World Championship™ qualifying Grand Prix with legendary driver Stirling (now Sir Stirling) Moss inArgentina in 1958.


Attending today’s announcement in Singapore was Rob Walker’s son, Robbie, with a collection of memorabilia from that great era of World Championship Grand Prix racing.


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Sep 18 2014

Mercedes Sponsor IWC Schaffhausen Extends Deal

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team sponsor IWC Schaffhausen is marking the extension of its support until the end of the 2018 season with the launch of two special limited Ingenieur Chronograph Editions, personally designed by drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Only 250 of each watch has been made, with the drivers being presented with theirs ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend. Both editions feature a titanium casing and a medallion of carbon fibre, from one of the Silver Arrows cars raced by the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team, set into the back of the watch, along with the personal logo of the respective drivers.

With the link between IWC Schaffhausen and AMG, the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz, dating back to 2004, and with the team’s drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, being ‘Friends of the Brand’, this new agreement further reinforces the strong ties and passion for precision engineering that exist between the two partners.

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, commented: “We are delighted to have extended our partnership with IWC Schaffhausen for a further three years and to have the opportunity to continue to work closely with such a prestigious brand. Our shared passion for pushing the boundaries of engineering through technical innovation and design are the perfect match for IWC, Mercedes AMG PETRONAS and our sport of Formula One. We look forward to working in close collaboration with IWC in the years to come and to further contributing to the development of their innovative and beautiful timepieces.”

Lewis FrontLewis BackNico FrontNico BackGeorges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, said: “We and the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team’s engineers and designers are linked by a common passion for outstanding engineering, skilled craftsmanship and innovation. With the team’s drivers, we share a desire to deliver ultimate precision and unmatched performance. Lewis and Nico are not only unique personalities and incredibly successful sportsmen but also very creative. They were both immediately very interested in the idea of launching two limited special edition watches. I’m confident that these unusual timepieces will be equally popular with motorsport enthusiasts and watch connoisseurs.”

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Sep 09 2014

TAG Heuer Promotes Special Edition McLaren Watch With Jenson Button

McLaren and sponsor TAG HEUER have launched a new chronograph which is perfect for any motor racing fanatic. What sets this watch apart from the classic Carreras is the rubber strap with a special race tire tread design and a black ceramic bezel marked with “McLaren 1974 EDITION.”  Yours for £4,500!

To promote the launch, last week TAG Heuer ambassadors, the McLaren driver Jenson Button and Cristiano Ronaldo dribbled, passed and shot footballs with great flair and at ridiculously high speeds behind the wheels of McLaren race-cars when TAG Heuer turned the Circuito del Jarama in Madrid into a gigantic football pitch, showing just what “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” really means.

The two TAG Heuer super stars tracked times on their legendary Carrera Calibre 1887 automatic chronographs.


Check out the video and #dontcrackunderpressure to see how the day unfolded. To share the fun with their fans, Cristiano, Jenson and TAG Heuer have been posting news on Facebook and Twitter all week.


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Sep 08 2014

McLaren Lures Coffee Brand Sponsor Back

McLaren has lured iconic Italian coffee brand Segafredo Zanetti back to Formula 1 after a 20-year absence in time for the Italian Grand Prix at the weekend.

Segafredo Zanetti, part of the Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group, was first involved in Formula 1 between 1984 and ’94. It partnered with McLaren between 1984 and ’86, working with world champions Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Keke Rosberg. The brand also sponsored the car, overalls and helmet of legendary champion Ayrton Senna during his first year in Formula 1 in 1984, and during his final season in the sport in 1994.

Segafredo Zanetti branding appeared on the rear-wing endplates and driver overalls from the qualifying session at Monza. For races in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, the Group will run with Boncafé local-market branding.

Group president Massimo Zanetti said: “The Segafredo Zanetti name has long been associated with motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular, and our decision to return to grand prix racing with the renowned McLaren team signals our intention to further strengthen and grow the powerful Segafredo Zanetti brand. When we looked at the sponsorship market for a brand that we could truly work alongside, one that matched our global requirements, and with whom we could push to both be more innovative, McLaren perfectly fit that brief. Indeed, their partner roster and their track record for retaining sponsors are unparalleled. When you think of Formula 1, you doubtless think of McLaren; one of the teams that has achieved truly legendary status. Equally, in the coffee world, exactly the same is true of Segafredo Zanetti – and, together, we can achieve something special. Emotionally, too, my long friendship with Ayrton Senna also influenced my decision to return to McLaren. On the 20thanniversary of his death, it seems appropriate to restart Segafredo Zanetti’s involvement with Formula 1, as well as underline my commitment to my long-standing relationship with Ron Dennis.”

McLaren Group chairman & CEO Ron Dennis CBE said: “I’m personally delighted that Massimo Zanetti has chosen to return to Formula 1 with McLaren. He’s long supported both McLaren and Ayrton Senna, and his passion for motorsport courses through the Segafredo Zanetti brand. Segafredo Zanetti is one of the best-established and most illustrious names in the coffee world; but it’s also a brand that’s absolutely synonymous with Formula 1. As a McLaren partner, together we have a long backstory; today, more importantly, we have a lot more that we can say together. For Segafredo Zanetti to partner with McLaren in such a competitive international sponsorship market is a reflection of the strength of our brand, our proven track record of delivery for our partners, and the power of Formula 1 to reach an avid worldwide audience of consumers. I am delighted that two iconic global brands, both of which are synonymous with excellence, are coming together once more.”



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Sep 02 2014

UBS Scaling Back Formula 1 Sponsorship

Swiss newspaper Blick has reported that global financial services company UBS is downsizing its sponsorship of Formula 1; reducing spend from about $54 million to $32m; ending the Title Sponsorship of the Chinese Grand Prix and reducing trackside advertising.

UBS first backed Formula 1 in 2010 in a deal by its then chief executive Oswald Grubel, but new boss Sergio Ermotti, has apparently negotiated a new deal based on market research started last year.

Blick quoted a UBS spokesman as saying: “We have always stressed that Formula 1 is a long-term commitment. We are very pleased with the partnership. We put the customer platform more in the centre and focus the brand on key growth markets,” the spokesman said.


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Aug 28 2014

Lotus Buoyed by New Sponsor for Italian,US & UAE GPs

Good news for the Lotus F1 Team, which has been buoyed by a new sponsor for the forthcoming Italian, United States and UAE Grands Prix, the multi-national electronics manufacturer Hisense.

The Hisense logo will feature on the prominent sidepod placement of the team’s E22 as well as on the air box for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The branding is part of a global promotion by the world-leading provider of flat panel TVs, household appliances and mobile communications.

Matthew Carter, Lotus F1 Team CEO: “We are thrilled that Hisense has chosen Lotus F1 Team to enhance and strengthen its continued global development. Headquartered in China, Hisense has shown impressive development and worldwide expansion as a challenger brand, something which Lotus F1 Team can relate to closely as we continue to challenge on the track. Hisense has shown it recognises the value of sports marketing on several occasions and to have Lotus F1 Team identified as a key association as part of Hisense’s growth is a substantial compliment.”

Dr. Lin Lan, Hisense Vice President: “Joining with Lotus F1 Team at the Italian, United States and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix is a very exciting prospect. As we grow our brand awareness globally, we aim to use proven partnerships that we know will deliver. Formula 1, and in particular Lotus F1 Team, has huge potential and we are looking forward to working together over the coming months.”


About Hisense
Founded in 1969 as a small radio factory in China, Hisense has grown into a multibillion-dollar global conglomerate with a workforce of over 75,000 worldwide. Hisense is recognized as a world leading provider of flat panel TVs, household appliances, and mobile communications and is recognized as a top 10 player by large global institutions, such as Euromonitor, IDG, and the Consumer Electronics Association. Its 20+ subsidiaries are in the multimedia, household appliance, telecommunications, information technology, technology services, and real estate industries, while its products are sold in over 130 countries and regions throughout the world.

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Aug 28 2014

Which McLaren Driver Are You? & Collect Team Stickers Online.

McLaren Mercedes AMG F1 team is certainly building on its efforts to engage with fans, following on from the successful Tooned cartoons. The latest is a quirky quiz to see which iconic McLaren driver you are most like. Auto Race Sponsor is most like Emerson Fittipaldi, baby!

Take the quiz here


Also, the team has launched a three-year partnership with digital company 2STIC, which has been given the brief to create a new digital platform for McLaren fans to engage with the team.

2STIC has taken the fan sticker collection concept online to enable fans to collect, trade and complete their album across a wide variety of platforms –including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Scratch beneath the surface of the sticker album for exclusive content such as dynamic action shots and more traditional portrait photography through animated images and video sequences.

Go to and register for your free McLaren Mercedes album along with a few pictures to get the ball rolling. Collectors will also benefit from two free stickers daily as well as being able to purchase packs online for those who want to speed up the completion of their album. With the addition of the 2STIC app, fans can swap unlimited doubles direct from smartphone to smartphone (Face2Face).

Nigel Moss, McLaren’s licensing and merchandising director, said: “Everybody remembers collecting and swapping stickers in the playground when they were younger, and 2STIC’s dynamic and innovative digital collection takes the concept to the next level. I’m sure many McLaren fans will enjoy both sharing and compiling their own collections, while also benefiting from the exciting and innovative new features that have made 2STIC so successful.”

Frank Albert, founder of 2STIC, added: “Following successful partnerships with multiple high-profile football clubs, we are delighted to enter the exciting world of Formula 1 for the first time with McLaren Mercedes.

“The team’s fantastic pedigree and heritage, and its strong following make it the perfect match for our debut at the pinnacle of motorsport. The collaboration will take McLaren Mercedes’ fan communication to a new level, and we’re happy to assist with enabling its fans to share and connect with one another across multiple continents and devices.”

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Aug 19 2014

Puma Shows Bernie How to Engage Fans at Chinese GP

There is a lot of comment flying around about how Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management (FOM) have ignored social media to their detriment, when engaging fans is all-important.

Campaign Asia magazine has done an interesting case study about how Mercedes and Ferrari sponsor Puma engaged fans at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Auto Race Sponsor finds this particularly interesting as we were there and knew nothing about it!

Apparently Puma launched a “Live Wi-Fi Leaderboard”  and positioned 10 Wi-fi routers by the Grandstands, giving each router a network name matching the names of the top 10 drivers. The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers were highlighted in association with Puma, such as PUMA – Hamilton. During the race, Puma changed the names of the networks to match the live timing so users could see an updated list of who was leading timing just by refreshing their phone’s list of available networks. Apparently it racked up 54,500 connections by more than 32,200 mobile devices during the race and Puma claims that awareness of its sponsorship of the teams increased by 22% on the back of this promotion, which had zero media spend.

We wish we’d known about it at the time! With the demise of Kangaroo TV at most races (a little TV where you could listen to commentary and watch the TV coverage and select drivers etc) then it’s quite difficult for fans at races to keep up with what’s happening if they can’t see a video TV screen clearly. It’d be great if Bernie made every track Wi-Fi up so we can use apps like the Official F1 Timing app so we know exactly what’s going on.


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Aug 18 2014

Formula 1 Drivers’ Salaries 2014

Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa this weekend, have a look at the drivers’ salaries, compiled by Business Book GP 2014. Daniel Ricciardo on €750,000 looks like a bit of a bargain… What do you think? Which drivers are being over or under paid?

1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari22 M€
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari22 M€
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 22 M€
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes20 M€
5. Jenson Button (McLaren16 M€
6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes12 M€
7. Felipe Massa (Williams) 4 M€
Nico Hulkenberg (Force India4 M€
9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 3 M€
Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 3 M€
Sergio Perez (Force India3 M€
12. Adrian Sutil (Sauber2 M€
13. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren1 M€
=  Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1 M€
15. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 750 000 €
=  Jean-Éric Vergne (Toro Rosso750 000 €
17. Jules Bianchi (Marussia500 000 €
18. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber400 000 €
19. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso250 000 €
20. Max Chilton (Marussia200 000 €
21. Marcus Ericsson (Caterham150 000 €
=   Kamui Kobayshi (Caterham150 000 €


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Aug 14 2014

FIA Formula E Launches Global Ad Campaign

One month away from the inaugural launch of the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing, organisers have launched its global marketing campaign called Drive the Future (see the ad below).

Ad agency Dare created the push, with the idea to present Formula E as a unique and innovative new sports entertainment brand that will transform cities around the world as the season progresses. Featuring sound design by Nick Rapaccioli, the film depicts a cityscape embracing the change to electric vehicles before revealing the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car driving at high-speed.

The ad will be played on consumer broadcast networks around the globe including FOX Sports, and business audience networks including CNN and CNBC. It will also feature heavily on China’s Sina and Weibo platforms.

Utilising other media platforms,  Drive the Future campaign will incorporate a unique 600 sq m animated poster on the side of the seven star Pangu Plaza Hotel in Beijing, overlooking the streets surrounding the Olympic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium

An extensive Out-Of-Home campaign will also feature across bus stops, buses and the subway throughout the Chinese capital with billboard promotions at Beijing International Airport via leading outdoor advertising company JCDecaux.

Charles Davies, Head of Marketing, said: “With one month to go before our first race, we’re very excited to be unveiling our new Drive the Future campaign for the FIA Formula E Championship. We believe Formula E has all the ingredients to appeal to a new, younger generation of motorsport fans who want to enjoy close, city-centre racing combined with the latest music and entertainment.”

Formula E is the FIA’s new fully-electric single-seater championship designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Racing entirely on temporary city-centre race tracks, it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). The first of 10 races takes place in Beijing with the season finale taking place in London on June 27 2015.

The final Formula E pre-season test takes place at Donington Park on August 19 with free admission to the public.


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