Number of US sponsors doubled in F1 under Liberty

F1 is currently enjoying a boom in the US as the series has seen an expansion into a second US race this year, making its Miami Grand Prix debut. A third American event is planned for 2023 in Las Vegas.

F1’s growth in the US comes after decades of struggle for market penetration, but isn’t just reflected in the number of American races. In recent years, a number of major tech companies in the United States have begun working with F1 teams and the chain itself through partnerships, including Amazon, Google and Oracle.

Speaking at the Business of F1 forum organized by the Financial Times and Motorsport Network in Monaco at the end of last month, Williams’ commercial director James Bower said the team’s analysis showed a massive increase in the number of US brands participating in F1.

“In 2015, the statistic was that there were 45 US-based companies in sports — the current number this year so far is 108, so it’s a double-digit increase,” Bauer said.

“With reference to technology partners, I think Formula 1 is without a doubt the most data-driven sport on the planet, so we are seeing this huge influx of technology companies, especially from North America.

“It’s interesting for us at Williams, that we have a new ownership with Dorilton, and a lot of people don’t understand what Dorilton does, but it’s basically a New York-based private equity firm that has a bunch of companies.

“One of the things they already have is a venture capital arm, Dorilton Ventures, that you’ll see on the car and the drivers. They’re taking advantage of Formula 1 with the founders of the tech companies in the early stages, because you’re kind of finding that those founders all love F1, even if they’re in United State.

“They’re taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in these companies with Williams versus the big Silicon Valley investment firms, basically saying we’re going to include you on the team, and that has tremendous appeal for people.”

View of the circle from the watchtower

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar/Sports Images

Power said that although growth in the US looks “a bit like an overnight success” from the outside, the roots can be traced back to the return of the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in 2012.

“We really started to see the growth after that through having an influential home, as well as through ESPN broadcasting F1 broadcasts in the US [since 2018] We’re really seeing the demographics and the change getting a little smaller, the gradual growth of the audience that’s really helping to grow the sport,” Bauer said.

“And then of course for the last five years when Liberty bought the sport, put in place the excellent marketing and management processes, and then grew the sport.

“It was amazing, then I topped it off with Drive to Survive and of course the new race last week in Miami was amazing. So yeah, it’s massive growth.”

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Chloe Target Adams, Formula 1’s global director of racing promotion, has played a key role in securing the Miami and Las Vegas races on the calendar for the future.

I felt that F1 “finally managed to crack this beautiful mix of great racing products, this incredible generation of young drivers, champions, and the influence of Netflix, all coming together at that time”.

“Miami as a location was something we started working on in 2017 with Dolphins, and to finally see that play out, the 400,000+ US audiences in COTA, having developed that 10 years later, it feels like the right time where this post is across that generation,” said Target Adams.

“It’s just a combination of it all coming together and seeing that growth going forward.”

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