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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Formula One: Are Cosworth the solution to McLaren-Honda’s woes?

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On the eve of the 2017 F1 season McLaren Honda head into the third year of their partnership with little cause for optimism. Despite the FIA’s removal of the Power Unit development token system which previously limited manufacturers ability to modify / redesign technology, Honda solutions seemingly remain at odds with the F1 Hybrid era.

2017 pre-season testing saw Honda introduce an entirely new Power Unit, a fully integrated unit developed around the MCL32. In a bid to improve performance and resolve drivability issues which plagued the 2015 / 16 design, Honda engineers have taken inspiration from the solutions seen with their immediate competitors. This approach, in the short term at least, appears to have failed. McLaren have reported extensive issues with vibrations within the power unit limiting any ability to push for out right performance. Neither team nor engine manufacturer have been able to validate design concepts through pre-season testing and have minimal expectations around the team’s ability to complete a race distance let alone score points in the opening races of the 2017 season.

The situation is unsatisfactory for all parties involved.

In recent days it has emerged McLaren may have made preliminary enquiries towards Mercedes around future power unit supply, some media outlets going as far to suggest a mid season switch could be possible. The reality of this is highly unlikely, both from a commerical and technical perspective the strategy defies logic and any form of long term thinking.

McLaren maintain an ambition to compete for and win world championships. Using Williams Martini Racing as a prime example, despite access to the dominant power unit for the past three seasons, customer status with Mercedes limits their ability to challenge. This should not be the strategy McLaren seek or accept. It may resolve short term frustrations with partners, but it will not deliver world championships.

Instead McLaren may need to seek an alternative solution. It is understood Honda support the team and power unit development to the tune of $100 million per season. On the recommendation of McLaren, Honda could look to redirect this finance to a third party. The third party in question being Cosworth.

When the Hybrid F1 regulations were originally outlined in 2010, Cosworth, similar to Mercedes, dedicated significant resource to develop a new power unit for the sport. The intention had been for Volkswagen to badge the Cosworth power unit, however as the implementation of the new regulations grew nearer VW reneged on their F1 ambitions. This left Cosworth with a concept power unit 4 years in the making but no manufacturer budget to bring the power unit to the grid.

Cosworth have stated in previous years that with budget the power unit they developed could be on the grid within 6 months. They remain confident that the solutions they engineered would be competitive. In theory it would be possible for the Cosworth power unit to become the 2018 Honda F1 Power Unit. It is fair to say there would be a certain amount of pride to overcome between all parties involved, but ensuring future competitiveness may ease the short term pain.

To those who see the suggestion of Honda badged Cosworth Power Unit as the future of the McLaren Honda relationship as far fetched, take a look at the companies house registry for the list of directors at Cosworth. Top of this list you will find Mr Zak Brown, Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group.

Formula One: Eddie Jordan slams Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes

Ahead of the 2017 F1 season former team owner turned pundit Eddie Jordan has suggested he would his response to Lewis Hamilton’s decision to back up Nico Rosberg in the final race of the 2016 season in a bid to secure his 4th World Championship would not have been as forgiving as that of Toto Wolff and the Daimler management board.

Never one to shy away from a headline, in this 2017 preview for Mobil One’s The Grid, Jordan comments on the departure of his good friend Bernie and the new start of a new era with Liberty Media.

Despite questioning Lewis’ approach to 2016, suggesting his lost focus, Jordan predicts he will be the favourite going into 2017. On Bottas, Jordan suggests 3-4 wins could be possible but questions his ability to push Lewis through the season.

Formula One: A fitting tribute to a great man – John Surtees

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With the final day of pre-season testing for the 2017 Formula One season came the terrible news of John Surtees passing. It was on with a sombre feeling current drivers reflected on their memories of the true racing legend, of how he inspired them, and the times they had spent together.

As the weekend passed many have spoken about his record of being the only person to hold championships on both two and four wheels, something almost incomprehensible in motorsports today, but how many of us actually know the history behind such an achievement? Speaking to Mobil One’s The Grid John Surtees in his own words reflects on his career and what lead him to transition from two to four wheels in the first place. Sir Sterling moss goes on to detail the sheer drive and passion John Surtees applied to life.

I can’t claim to know a great deal about the history of sport beyond that which I have lives through, so for me this film gave a fascinating insight into a time in motorsport I can only dream of. The purity and passion of motorsport at this time is something current drivers and the sport in general should aspire towards.

Indycar: Let the racing begin!

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After 2 weeks of intensive Formula One testing, the motorsport fans may be craving a bit of real open wheel to wheel action this weekend. Fear not! Indycar is here to satisfy your needs with the 2017 season getting under way at the famous street come airport circuit coming from St Pete!

Mobil One’s The Grid, preview this weekends racing and the season in prospect, with fantastic insights from the likely title contenders. With F1 drivers talking about increase fitness requirements to master their 2017 contenders, with retired World Champion Nico Rosberg referring to his former peers as gladiators, it’s worth remembering that Indycar drivers have to cope with heavier cars with no power steering! With Nico’s new found spare time perhaps he should head state side to see real gladiators at work!

Formula One: World Record Attempt in Monza

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Formula One 2017 looks set to be a championship in which setting new lap records will become the norm. Over the past decade the FIA have put in place evolving technical regulations aimed at controlling outright vehicle performance and ensuring driver safety. As technical capabilities have developed the rationale for controlling speeds on safety grounds has diminished. The 2017 the FIA have responded to this by modifying technical regulation to give teams a freedom to chase those long held lap records. As F1 heads to towards the season opener in Melbourne in less than 3 weeks time, many predict lap time improvements of 3-4 seconds per lap. Should this be achieved every lap record held on an F1 circuit will be broken this season.

Chasing outright performance in sport is not something held exclusively to motorsport. For years professional marathon runners have been chasing the illusive sub 2 hour target. The current record was set by Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) at the Berlin Marathon in 2014. He set a time of 2:02:57. When defining targets for 2017, Nike have mapped out a project to support a challenge for athletes to not only better this time, but finally break the 2 hour record.

You may ask why would Nike to get involved in, let alone lead such a project. The answer is clear and quite logical. To be the footwear manufacturer that powered the first athlete to complete a sub 2 hour marathon would give Nike the ultimate bragging rights. Nike would become the brand of choice for those amateur runners seeking that additional edge (Like me! 3:24.55 London 2016) Competitors to Nike are of course Savvy to this, in fact there is something of akin to the space race taking place in the footwear industry at the moment as manufacturers rush to pull together there own sub 2 hour project.

However, Nike have been first to go public with their attempt. In defining the project they have identified the most suitable location for the attempt as Monza. The lack of undulation and consistent surface of the circuit is perfectly suited to the requirements of their athletes. Current weather conditions as we head into spring as perfect for such an attempt. The precise timing behind the attempt has not yet been revealed. Yesterday the team of athletes involved attempted a sub 1 hour half marathon with  Eliud Kipchoge and. Zersenay Tadese finishing with times of 59:17 & 59:41 respectively.

To keep up to date with the challenge head to Runners World through this link

Formula E: Omologato join Mahindra Racing

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Indian Formula E Team Mahindra Racing have announced a new partnership with British watch manufacturer Omologato. This new partnership will see Omologato branding feature extensively on the M3Electro, on drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist’s gloves and within the team environment with Omologato wall clocks.

Within the partnership Omologato have  designed a unique Mahindra Racing timepiece collection, which can be found here. Omologato believe “everyone should have a watch with a story” as such they have positioned their products at a price which the everyday motorsport fan can afford. Omologato and Mahindra Racing set out to engage with their fans and followers with this partnership, combining a mutual passion for motorsport with a desire to pioneer new concepts and enhance awareness of Formula E in new markets.

 

Commenting on the new partnership Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team remarked, “We are delighted to welcome Omologato into the Mahindra Racing family. The Omologato brand is highly regarded in the motorsport community; we both share the same passion for delivering exciting motor racing and heritage to fans across the globe. We look forward to engaging with fans at Omologato events and having their logo on our cars from the next race in Mexico City.”

Shami Kalra, Founder of Omologato added, “We are delighted to become an Official Partner of the Mahindra Racing Formula E Team in one of the world’s most forward-thinking sports championships. We welcomed the challenge of designing these special timepieces for the team to take to iconic cities across the globe. One of our aims at Omologato is to give motorsport enthusiasts the chance to immerse themselves in motorsport, through our chronographs and our #ChronosAndCars events. This exciting partnership will give Omologato fans the opportunity to get closer to the Mahindra Racing Formula E Team.”  

To check out the Omologato Mahindra Racing collection follow this link

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

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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.

Formula One: Premium partners flock to Force India

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Judging by additional branding adorning the VJM10 and partnership announcements in the off season,  plaudits surrounding Sahara Force India’s forth place finish in the 2016 Formula One Constructors Championship have extended far beyond the commentators and fans.

With an increasing number of leading teams in Formula One struggling to secure new partners Force India are bucking the trend. The teams ability to attract new partners can be attributed in part to their success on track, but perhaps of more relevance, the way in which the success has been achieved. It is a well known fact the Force India operate on a significantly lower budget than the majority of other teams on the grid. Rather than complaining about a lack of finances, the team focus there efforts on maximising what they do have. The ratio of investment to performance gain and as a consequence exposure gain is far higher with Force India than with any other team on the grid. No doubt the marketing team of the Silverstone based team use this information as a key factor in presenting to new partners. The approach is paying off!

Diageo, have upgraded their relationship with Force India, increasing branding space and influence on the 2017 livery and shifting the brand they are seeking to promote through the partnership from mass market offering Smirnoff, to premium brand Johnnie Walker.

Innovative premium watch brand Felio Siby have extended their partnership with Force India for a second year, with promises of unique brand activation events through the season.

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Hype Energy Drink have expanded their partnership within the sport for the third season in succession. With increased branding on the VJM1o in premium exposure positions.

New clothing partner Farah have joined the team, supplying a unique range of travel wear and fan range to be launched later in the season.

Eye Respect – LDNR eyewear join Force India as the official sunglasses / eyewear partner for the team, taking brand positioning on the wing mirrors of the VJM10

Forex Trading partner FXTM also join the team with branding on the rear sidepod of the car. As forex trading moves into the mainstream Force India have done well to secure a leader in the sector.

With online gambling partner W88.com and digital technology partner Orangebus also joining the team, the Force India marketing team should be more than satisfied with an impressive winter work rate!

Another interesting component of the partnerships Force India have established ahead of the 2017 season is the amount of deals which are customer facing. Increasingly partnerships within Formula One are focused on business to business relationship building or hosting high net worth individuals. Force India are establishing partnerships which incorporate a consumer facing offering. They are achieving this whilst also introducing partners with aspirational product offerings.

Formula One: A Brief History of Formula One Racing Games


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Formula One racing games have evolved dramatically over the years. It’s now a very popular genre, which has a proud and illustrious tradition that dates back more than four decades.

As some may remember, the ‘70s witnessed a number of firsts in terms of the whole console gaming industry. Games Radar highlights the likes of Magnavox Odyssey, which was the first gaming console ever and was one of the primary modes of entertainment of that era. Who can forget the Ataris, the Pong games, and other archaic gaming platforms that were also prevalent during that time.

Basically, the aforementioned decade saw various game developers’ incorporation of arcade technology and how they transitioned it into handheld and home ventures. F1 racing games, for their part, also followed the same path.

The ‘70s

In 1976, there were titles such as Formula One Championship, F1. This old school arcade machine was the first one to integrate a Formula One racecar into games. Despite its rather primitive state, it featured a film recorded racetrack that’s projected on screen. F1 was also the first legitimate arcade racer on the Atari console. In 1979, Monaco GP followed suit and went up a notch by including a simple day/night cycle. Slowly but surely, Formula One racing games were adapted for various consoles.

The ‘80s

The next decade saw popular games like Pole Position and Pit Stop. Of course the ‘80s still had other console favourites such as Formula One on ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC, as well as Super Monaco GP for the Sega Mega Drive. As 16-bit gaming consoles were becoming the “in thing” in the middle and latter part of the 1980s, F1 racing titles added certain visual elements into the equation. This decade introduced Formula One titles like RC Pro-Am, Final Lap, and Winning Run.

The ‘90s

The ‘90s were not just about grunge music and coming-of-age movies, it was also the time when landmark Formula One racing franchises were introduced to the gaming market. From the more gimmicky racing games such as F-Zero and Super Mario Kart, to Virtual Racing and Formula One Grand Prix, to Gran Turismo, the list became more diverse and to a certain extent futuristic. Obviously, there were still age-old classics like Pole Position and Grand Prix Manager to appease the masses.

The 2000s

Since the popularity and marketability of racing games became apparent, the next decade followed the same footsteps, which in a way continued the legacy. Graphics become clearer, more lifelike, and the actual gameplay was close to real life as well, as reflected by EA’s first venture into Formula One racing, F1 2000. In addition, developers took advantage of the Internet as a tool to create a network of virtual racers – and even incorporate specific aesthetics to heighten the experience.

This current era underlined the significance of online game modes. There’s again the Gran Turismo franchise, which fully incorporated Formula One racecars to its roster. Also, according to this article on James Allen On F1, virtual and augmented reality entered the picture. Furthermore, many Internet based game developers included state-of-the-art racing themes into the equation. There’s an electronic slots game on Spin Genie that has futuristic automobile elements called Light Racers which represents the latest take on motorsport games.

In Conclusion

All in all, Formula One racing games have come a long way from being initially developed for old school arcades. Nowadays, they’re played in households on famous consoles, and have entered the worldwide web through a bevy of online games. It proves that F1 racing cars have a definite place not just on the racetrack, but also in the virtual world.

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