Formula 1 is a sport that needs no introduction. It is the pinnacle of the motorsport world and its Grand Prix races are amongst the biggest events in all of sport. The global audience for Formula One in 2021 stood at 445 million viewers worldwide. F1 teams make the most of this exposure by striking sponsorship deal with major companies, who pay hefty fees for the right to place their logos on the cars.
Most sponsors are actually stock exchange listed companies (that can be traded). Let’s take a look at the most recognisable brands that sponsor the top F1 teams:
The main team sponsor has the most advertising space on the car, and often features in the official team name.
For instance, Information technology giant Oracle (ORCL) sponsors the Oracle Red Bull Team. Oracle’s businesses include cloud and license, hardware and services.
British American Tobacco (BATS) are the main sponsor for one of the sport’s most legendary teams – Mclaren. They have chosen to promote their VELO brand on the McLaren MCL36 car. Another notable sponsor for the McLaren team is tech hardware giant DELL (DELL). The Tezos logo is also visible, but less prominent.
Ferrari is widely considered to be F1’s most iconic team. Its main sponsors are the major oil company Shell (SHEL) and the Spanish banking group Banco Santander (SAN). Another familiar name on the red car, although less visible, is the American big data company Palantir (PLTR)
ORLEN SA (PKN) is a Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer, and the main sponsor of Alfa Romeo F1 team (up tountil 2022) and likely to be the main sponsor of team AlphaTauri (from 2023)
Team Aston Martin has Cognizant (CTSH) as its main sponsor. Cognizant is an American multinational information technology services and consulting company.
Automotive manufacturers view F1 as a marketing opportunity, as its a platform they use to showcase their technical abilities to the world.
Simply participating in F1 is a prestigious endeavour. Beyond that, winning the constructors championship is the ultimate recognition for a successful manufacturer. The constructors championship is awarded each season to the team who accumulate the most points across both their drivers.
Many of the leading manufacturers operate their own flagship teams, and also supply engines to other teams.
This is the case with Mercedes – Benz (MBG). The famous German automaker has maintained a presence in Formula 1 since 1970. The current Mercedes has been very successful in recent years. Starting off in 2010 with the return of Michael Schumacher, it then produced world champions for Niko Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes is also a supplier of engines to the McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams teams.
Scuderia Ferrari S.p.A.is the racing division of Ferrari N.V. (RACE), the Italian brand that has become synonymous with sports cars. Ferrari is perhaps the most famous and legendary F1 team, having won 16 constructors and 15 drivers championships since its first entry in 1950.
Apart from its flagship team, it also supplies engines to both the Alfa Romeo and Haas teams.
Renaut(RNO) participates in F1 through its Renault F1 team, recently rebranded as the Alpine F1 Team, to promote Renault‘s sports car brand, Alpine. The French manufacturer also has a long history in F1, dating back to the 1970s.
Aston Martin (AML) is a British car manufacturer that is currently part of F1, although uses Mercedes engines in its racing cars.
It is expected that Audi, part of VW Group (VOW), will enter F1 in 2026, as it owns a stake in Sauber, which has an active partnership with Alfa Romeo, the Italian automaker owned by Stellantis NV (STLA). Previous manufacturers include Honda (HMC),Toyota (TM), BMW (BMW.de), Jaguar, Lotus, Porsche and more.
TF1 manufacturing is an expensive business , in 2019 Mercedes spent around $484 million, Ferrari spent $463 million, and Red Bull invested $445 million. Following the top teams, the richest mid-field team is Renault who recorded annual spending of $272 million in 2020;
The current tyre supplier for all teams, and the general sponsor of the Spanish and Italian Grand Prix, is Pirelli (PIRC). Previously, tyres have been supplied by Good Year (GT), Michelin (ML), Bridgestone and Continental (CON).
Apart from the main sponsors and manufacturers, a closer inspection of an F1 car reveals multiple comparatively smaller sponsors, many of whom are well known publicly listed companies, of the most notable Heineken N.V. (HEIA) is a prominent presence in F1, having sponsored the Australian, Dutch, the Mexican and Brazilian Grand Prix.
Formula 1 viewership numbers are increasing every season, with a large percentage of that being attributed to the global success of Netflix‘s (NFLX) Drive and Survive series, and on the back of the renewed interest in F1 it is undoubtable set to remain a major marketing vehicle for big name sponsors.