Steiner at Haas and Capito at Williams see F1 business opportunities growing with US interest

As Formula 1 racing gains a significant foothold in the United States, two racing teams that have struggled with funding in the past are now seeing additional opportunities with American companies.

Jost Capito at Williams and Guenther Steiner at Haas don’t sit every week on the F1 calendar thinking they are in a position to win the championship. At least not in recent years and certainly not in 2022 where Williams is currently last in Constructors’ championship points and Haas is 8th. Yes, they will always work towards this, and as part of the race within the race, both teams have won points this year, which was not always a given in the past.

Racing in Formula 1 is not cheap in any way. Even with a cost cap in place, it was $145 million in 2021 and reduced to $140 million for this season. It will be lowered to $135 million for 2023.

Sponsorships fuel all forms of racing, but F1 eats the most at its table. With races held globally, companies can gain a global footprint by making deals.

These offers don’t come cheap considering the exposure and myriad ways to activate them globally. However, the historic Williams family, they were forced to sell in 2020 to the investment company Dorilton Capital. American Gene Haas owns the Haas F1 team, but Steiner and the company have had major sponsor issues in the past, including with Russian sponsor Uralkali which was dropped in March due to the invasion of the ‘Ukraine.

For decades, the lure of F1 never seemed to resonate in the United States And although there was a lot of talk about Netflix
NFLX
Drive to survive With docuseries playing a huge part in (finally!) growing interest in F1 in America, after a few seasons under its belt there have been enough converts to say F1 is here to stay. In the space of two years, the World Racing League has seen the introduction of a race in Miami around the Hard Rock Stadium, and in 2023 Las Vegas will host a splashy night race that will be breathtaking at levels not seen since. the start of the races. at Monaco.

I caught up with Jost and Steiner while in Vegas for a 2023 race launch party. As the smoke still cleared of Lewis Hamilton doing donuts on the Strip in front of thousands, the two team managers were more than busy answering calls.

“Given where Williams is coming from financially, the 2022 season has had its challenges,” Jost said by phone. “I think we’ve done a good job off the track – how to grow the factory and the business, grow sponsors – grow the business side of the business. Even on the track, we gained points where we’ve closed the gap a lot with the midfield teams, so I think we’re pretty happy with how the season has gone so far.

For Steiner, growing popularity in the United States will pay direct dividends for 2023. Texas-based digital payments company MoneyGram has signed a multi-year deal with Haas giving them a title sponsor on the cars’ livery since 2023. abandonment of Uralkali ahead of the 2022 season. Financial terms were not made available, but based on other deals that favor mid-tier teams more, the deal could be worth up to 40 million dollars per year; a big money infusion for Haas.

“I live in the United States and I can see the increased interest in F1 because five years ago we could never have had this American company as our title sponsor, there just weren’t enough people. interest even if MoneyGram wanted to go global,” Steiner said. “But MoneyGram being an American company with a sponsorship deal for an American team, it works well.”

Steiner mentioned that with MoneyGram seeing the popularity of F1 growing in America, they may be one of the first companies to be able to “jump on the bandwagon” in the United States.

“I think they’re very smart because if you’re first – or if you’re one of the first – the price is better because everything will go up in the future,” Steiner added.

Formula 1 has seen a resurgence on the business side since US-based Liberty Media bought the racing league. Recent Q3 financial reports show F1 rebounding significantly from the height of the pandemic, posting operating profit of $82m, up 2% from Q3 2021, and it will continue then that media rights deals like ESPN will kick off next year.

As F1 continues to grow in popularity, supply and demand will fuel additional sponsorship funds, even as concerns over global inflation affect advertising budgets.

“Liberty has done a fantastic job bringing all three races to the United States, which really reflects the growing interest in America,” Jost said. “I think every team benefits from it. Formula 1, as a franchise, has only 10 teams. It’s the biggest, or almost the biggest global sports and entertainment series in the world. With only 10 teams for the entire company, this makes all teams more attractive for sponsorship deals.

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