Category Archives: Red Bull Racing

Formula One: Turning the Red Bull Racing Aston Martin story on its head

aston red bull monaco.jpg

Amongst the #ToroHondaRenaultMcLarenRosso hype during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, news of around Aston Martin increasing its involvement in Formula One with Red Bull Racing has started to solidify. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, when quizzed on the grid by Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle confirmed the business is keeping a watching brief on 2021 engine regulations, which should they fall favourably towards independent manufacturers, could lead to increased involvement of the brand. Should this be the case Palmer confirmed Aston Martin may seek to preemptt the regulation change by enhancing their visibility with Red Bull Racing possibly from as early as 2018.

This news comes at a time in which the media are speculating Red Bull’s long-term interest in Formula One may be dwindling, which has lead some observers to suggest a change of ownership of Red Bull Racing under the guise of Aston Martin. Whilst this is entirely possible, there are, in my opinion, a few to many creative leaps being taken for this outcome to be viable.

Firstly, lets address Red Bull or more specifically Dietrich Mateschitz’s diminished interest in Formula One. Red Bull entered F1 to sell a product, this objective is the same today as it was 30 years ago. In 2016 the Red Bull achieved more than $1,000M in media coverage from through Formula One. This far exceeds any investment the brand makes into the sport. With budget caps on the horizon, the business rationale for a marketing focused business to be involved with F1 will only increase. Should a $150M budget cap be achieved, Red Bull Racing can be assured of achieving this investment through existing sponsors, and prize funds. Red Bull stand to benefit from $1000M in free advertising.

2017 saw Aston Martin return to profit for the first time in over a decade. The business has stated ambitions around going public in the coming 5 years and are focused on expanding their automotive range to increase revenues. At this time, and in the mid term they are not a business capable of sustaining any form of Formula One engine development plan. Aston Martin Racing is a completely separate business to the Aston Martin which sponsors Red Bull Racing.

Returning to Dietrich Mateschitz. A serial entrepreneurr and self made billionaire. In recent years, he has seen the likes of McLaren diversify into the production of cars, and Williams create successful businesses in the application of their technology within a commercial environment. He is aware that the technical capability of the Red Bull Racing group is under utilised, something which will only increase under a F1 budget cap.  Projects such as Newey’s America’s Cup Project and the Aston Martin Valkyrie Hypercar project show an evaluation of ways in which the team can direct resources to other projects. Could this lead to an alternative direction for Red Bull Racing?

Rather than Aston Martin becoming title sponsor of Red Bull Racing, with a view to producing a power unit under the 2021 regulations. Could Red Bull be considering buying Aston Martin, supporting them in the acceleration of their automotive expansion plans, facilitating F1 power unit development, through their partnership with AVL, and using the proven brand power of Formula One allow Dietrich Mateschitz to evolve Aston Martin into a genuine competitor to the entire Ferrari Group.

Dietrich Mateschitz acquiring Aston Martin and reshaping his position in Formula One towards a Red Bull owned Aston Martin F1 Team, from a business perspective appears entirely more feasible than a company reporting $16M profit, having committed $550M to new road cars, suddenly investing $20M per annum in title sponsorship then paying to develop  an F1 engine.

All that being said, Red Bull, through offering half stories and snippets of information continue to dominate F1 news despite being unable to challenge for a world championship. The business continues to offer a master class in media manipulation. As in 2014, when F1 news was dominated by stories of Red Bull looking set to quit Formula One, Red Bull have an ability to create their own news to ensure they dominate the F1 headlines between the races.

Finally, despite quotes to the contrary, Red Bull Racing are very well aware that the best chance they have of securing a return to a championship challenging position is with a fully funded manufacturer. Talk of Aston Martin, in my opinion, is nothing more than a negotiating tactic around the terms under which the Volkswagen Group will enter Formula One.

Credit to Sean Bull for the fantastic livery creation supporting this article. 

Advertisements

Formula One: McLaren set to badge Renault Power Unit – McLaren

Mclaren White label

As the F1 world awaits confirmation of the widely expected split between McLaren and Honda, attention has turned to the team name and branding for the 2018 season and beyond. It is fairly certain McLaren will switch to Renault power unit supply for next season in a deal which will see the Woking based team become a customer team for the remainder of the current iteration of Formula One Power Unit regulations.

Through social media, Fans and F1 pundits have been speculating on the likely name under which the McLaren Renault partnership will operate, with the overriding sentiment being that legacy of the respective brands not quite sitting well together. With almost every brand within the Renault-Nissan Alliance being touted as a possible fit for the partnership, from McLaren Infiniti, to McLaren Alpine, McLaren Nismo, and my personal favourite McLaren Dacia, the most logical naming convention appears to have been forgotten.

Zak Brown, Executive Director McLaren Technology Group, has been quoted as suggesting the team will consider producing Power Units under the McLaren brand under the new technical regulations, should costs not prove prohibitive. With this in mind it should be expected that the Renault agreement for 2018 will be delivered under a white label agreement, as already in place with Red Bull Racing who included naming rights to their Renault Power Unit in their partnership which LVMH, which sees the Power Unit branded Tag Heuer.

McLaren as an automotive entity in its own right will likely brand the white label Renault Power Unit as McLaren. Suggesting to the casual F1 follower or fan that the team is already producing its own power unit. Such a move will serve to further enhance the credibility of the McLaren Automotive Group and remove confusion around relationships between the road going cars and track based power unit partnerships.

After three of the worst seasons in the team’s history, it is highly unlikely McLaren will be in a position to sign a title sponsor for the 2018 season, the team must rebuild its reputation with brands and partners. As such when the 2018 team listing is announced expect McLaren to be listed simply as McLaren with no reference to any power unit supplier.

Should, for what ever reason, the Renault Power Unit fail to elevate McLaren from its current plight expect to hear some awkward interviews in which an unbranded power unit is held accountable for challenges facing the team.

Formula E: Why Audi don’t need Formula One

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.20.34.png

Following on from yesterday’s post suggesting that after their success in the World Endurance Championship, Porsche may be considering a future in Formula One, Livery designer extraordinaire & MsportXtra partner Sean Bull went on to post livery concepts around a Future for Audi in F1 again partnering with Red Bull Racing.

Whilst I’m a huge fan of the livery concept. To me, Audi’s future in motorsport sits within Formula E. Earlier this month Audi became the first German Automotive manufacturer to officially commit to the championship, taking over the Abt team license.

As an automotive manufacturer, Audi has recognised the trend towards Electric Vehicles and are embracing it. In motorsports, with Formula One, Audi would be forced into a battle of the budget in order to compete and to be seen as a success. With Formula E, they can engage with a younger audience demographic within a cost controlled environment, in a sport supported by governments and industry. They have an opportunity to lead, not follow.

As Audi works driver Lucas Di Grassi tweeted last month, drivers might miss the 1000bhp LMP1 beasts of Le Mans but the future is Electric, and Audi have embraced their future.

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.20.34

Formula One: Porsche Red Bull Racing? 2+2 = 5

red bull Porsche.jpg

The eagle-eyed F1 Fan will have noticed a few interesting faces in and around the F1 paddock over the weekend of the Austrian Grand Prix. After attending a recent meeting to discuss the future of F1 Power Units a number of Porsche ambassadors made their presence known through the event. As a pundit for Channel 4’s F1 coverage, seeing Mark Webber in the paddock is not an unusual sight. Less usual though was his choice of attire, as pictured below Mark spent much of the weekend wearing Porsche team wear. Similarly, Mark’s former teammate and former Red Bull Junior driver Brendon Hartley attended the Grand Prix and he too wore Porsche team wear combined with a Red Bull cap for much of the weekend.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 13.57.29.png

Of course a logical explanation for this is that both drivers were taking part in demonstration runs through the race weekend, but a far more exciting ‘hollywood’ story is that fresh from having achieved their objectives in the World Endurance Championship securing 3 back to back victories at Le Mans, Porsche are seeking a new challenge. Given Webber’s recent history with Red Bull Racing, he, perhaps under the guise of his ambassador role with Porsche is in someway involved in discussions to bring the two parties together with a role for Brendon Hartley as a driver within the package.

I have stated previously that the relationship between ExxonMobil, BP, and Renault for me is not logical. Fuel and Lubricant solutions must be developed in conjunction with power unit development. It is not possible to define a one size fits all development roadmap for the Renault Power Unit. At some point in the near future, if not, at some point in the past. BP or ExxonMobil will identify a performance opportunity with the Renault power unit which does not favour the other supplier. At this point power unit development will split. Renault will produce one power unit format for the works team and a different solution for Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Who will fund this alternative solution, and at what point is a Renault Power Unit no longer a Renault Power Unit?

Could Porsche be considering redirecting budget from the World Endurance Championship, a figure believed to be in the region of $100M towards a power unit development plan in Formula One? Paying Renault to use their technology as a basis for involvement would minimise the risk of ‘doing a Honda’ ensuring reasonable performance from the word go.

One thing is for sure, Porsche are seeking a new challenge, drivers, unlike fans, don’t attend race meetings in team wear when they are not competing for the fun of it. Perhaps in this case 2+2 might just equal 5.

Thanks to Sean Bull for pulling together incredible concept artwork for a Red Bull Racing Porsche mash up.

red bull Porsche

Formula One: Throwback Thursday – Red Bull Racing (don’t) split from Renault

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 00.11.36

If you’ve caught more than 10 minutes F1 coverage or spent anytime on popular F1 news aggregator sites over the last few weeks you would be forgiven for thinking the Mclaren Honda divorce was complete. Based on all confirmed sources this is not the case.

F1 media, as with any media, has a tendency towards sensationalism. A controversial headline will attract readership.  I have to admit, I’m not adverse to the occasional sensationalist headline here on JWGP.

So, whilst the F1 world awaits formal confirmation from both Mclaren and Honda around future plans, now seems as good a time as ever to reflect on the last “SENSATIONAL” Team and power unit supplier fall out. When with no official word from either Red Bull Racing or Renault, after 18 months of continuous headlines around a fallout, their split was announced by the media. Except it wasn’t. Two seasons later the partnership is still alive. Yes it has been modified, but the fact remains Red Bull Racing and Renault are partners.  Below is a screen grab of just a few of the credible outlets that “confirmed” the news.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 12.54.03

So while we wait for official news from Mclaren and Honda about the future of their partnership, one fact to bare in mind;

As per FIA sporting regulations, Honda and Mercedes have already confirmed power unit supply plans to the FIA for 2018 (see story with verified sources here). Within this confirmation, Mercedes will supply the same teams they are in 2017, Honda will supply Mclaren and Sauber.

In retrospect Looking back at the “confirmed” Red Bull Racing Renault split, the story ensured continual press coverage for a team performing well below expectations over a 12 month period. This coverage was arguably greater than that which Mercedes received whilst fighting for the championship. A masterstroke in marketing by a true marketeer Dietrich Mateschitz. In November last year, Mclaren replaced Ron Dennis with marketing guru Zak Brown.

How many newspapers are giving midweek coverage to Mercedes win on Sunday?

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 23.53.10

Formula One: 2017 Regulations Reminders

With Qualifying for the opening round of the 2017 F1 World Championship just hours away Red Bull Racing’s Chef Aerodynamics Engineer Dan Fallows sat down with Mobil One’s The Grid to explain the new technical regulations for the season ahead and the intentions behind them.

Flying in the face of many commentators and his own team principle Fallows is speaks highly of the returning shark fin aerodynamic element for 2017. Many detractors including   senior leadership within Formula One Management sought to remove the fin ahead of the season opener.

Formula One: Ricciardo dreaming of Champagne (Sparkling wine) from the top step

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo heads to his home Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2017 F1 season, in Melbourne with aspirations of a top result. In this race preview for Mobil One’s The Grid, Ricciardo explains the complexities of preparing for the Melbourne Grand Prix and how the team will be looking complete as many laps as possible through free practice to fine tune setup.

Having experienced the Melbourne podium in 2014 (as result which was taken away following a post race sanction), Ricciardo sets out a clear ambition to reach the top step in 2017 and “taste the big bottle of champagne” Unfortunately for Daniel, with Mumm Champagne being replaced by Chandon last season, should he reach the top step he’ll have to make do with sparkling wine. That being said I’m sure it’ll still taste sweet, even if it’s from a sweaty shoe!

Formula One: Exclusive – Hisense on motorsport. F1 & Nascar

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.22.55.png

With the 2017 Nascar season underway and the start of the 2017 F1 season less than one week away, JWGP caught up with partner to both championships, Hisense, to understand what attracts them to motorsport and why it pays to have partnerships in both Nascar & F1.

Hisense are a Chinese electrical goods company with an annual turnover in excess of $15 Billion. The company was founded almost 50 years ago. The company is made up of more than 40 subsidiaries, each focusing on a specific sector within the electronics sector. Hisense focus their motorsport activities on promoting the Television division of the business. Following an extensive period of evaluation of Formula One, in which an evaluation of how the sport can and will work for the business and how best to activate a partnership within the sport, in 2015 Hisense joined the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team. This multi-year partnership sees the team carry Hisense branding on the nose of the car and within the team environment.

In the same year Hisense joined Nascar team Job Gibbs Racing as principle partner. JWGP caught up with Deputy Director of Global Marketing Rolland Zhang to further hear more about their involvement in motorsport.

What attracted Hisense to Motorsport?

Hisense has two motorsport partnerships; one in NASCAR and one in Formula One. Generally speaking, there are a lot of synergies between motorsport and consumer electronics as technology and innovation sit at the heart of both.

Our technology and products have been integrated into team factories and garages around the world, used by the teams and sports we sponsor to improve performance on the track. This integration of technology shows consumers that if these world-class teams trust and rely on our products, they can too.

The fact that technology is so important in team performance is similar to our own values in terms of innovation and development, so it’s fantastic for us to be part of it.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.25.13.png

NASCAR is a hugely popular sport in the United States, so it is the perfect platform for Hisense to engage with the US market. In 2016, Denny Hamlin won the Hisense 4k TV 400 in a Hisense branded car. That played a huge role in raising the profile of Hisense in the United States. Our partnership with Red Bull Racing allows us to engage with audiences on a global scale. The Formula One season features Grands Prix in key markets that are important to our growth.

Why did Hisense choose Red Bull Racing over any other team in F1?

Red Bull Racing is a young, innovative and highly competitive team and we possess a lot of shared values.Red Bull Racing is a challenger brand, constantly pushing boundaries, which drives success on-track. We have a similar ethos and goals; we’re always looking to innovate and develop our technology to give our consumers bigger, better and more advanced products.

Red Bull Racing is also a fun and adventurous team; the drivers are exciting and fiercely competitive and the team is a very well-oiled machine which showed in their performance last year. The team’s determination, drive and success make us extremely proud to be a partner.

As a partner to Red Bull Racing, how does Hisense look to activate the partnership?

 Hisense supports the team by providing television screens in the Red Bull Racing factory and in the garage at races all around the world.  Last year, we installed a 9.6m by 3.6m state of the art LED screen in the team’s operations room at the factory in Milton Keynes. The screen allows the engineers at the factory to analyse live data and communicate effectively with the team at the track, no matter where they are racing in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.24.10.png

In local markets, we use the buzz of the Grand Prix and driver appearances to amplify product launches and host media and influencers at the track. The markets also use Red Bull Racing assets in out of home advertising and in-stores to reinforce our partnership with the coolest team on the F1 grid.

Our social and digital channels are also a focus for us, giving us a direct line to consumers and the ability to interact with Red Bull Racing online.

How important is social media in the activation of Hisense in F1? 

Social media is the most direct route we have to reach consumers, potential customers and Red Bull Racing fans.We have social channels dedicated to our global sports sponsorships specifically, which include tennis, football and of course motorsports. Our local markets also have channels that they activate on, so we are reaching people in their local language and with market-relevant content.  Last year, Hisense UK ran a Facebook Live Q&A with Max Verstappen which was very successful. It was nicely timed too, just after ‘that’ Brazil race, so there was a huge amount of engagement.

Thanks to Rolland Zhang for his time. JWGP will carry updates around Hisense & motorsport through the 2017 season

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.37.35.png

Formula One: Red Bull Racing ready to fight for the championship – Ricciardo

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 17.05.46.png

Heading into the second and final pre-season test ahead of the 2017 Formula One World Championship confidence is sky high on Daniel Ricciardo’s side of the Red Bull Racing Garage. From the bold ‘My time’ statement made by the Australian in his latest helmet design to his confident demeanour in recent interviews, Ricciardo is  projecting the air of a driver destinted to challenge for the drivers crown this season.

In his first in depth interview for Mobil One’s the Grid, Ricciardo speaks candidly about his expectations for the season ahead and why he believes 2017 will be his year.