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F1 lands a new sponsor
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Aug 2010   |  10:41 am GMT  |  30 comments

It’s just been announced that Swiss bank UBS is coming into F1 as a global partner, starting from next month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

This is interesting as it brings a new name in to the sport and it shows that F1 is getting some traction with expanding its global partner programme, an area which Bernie Ecclestone’s partners CVC felt was under exploited, when they bought into the commercial rights holder. In recent years DHL and LG Electronics have come into the sport in this capacity. The sums of money are not revealed, but it is less than the sanctioning fee Grand Prix venues pay to host a race.

Also significant is that Oswald Grübel, UBS chief executive, was previously at Credit Suisse when they were a partner of Sauber, so there is quite a but of influence from the boss going on here.

This deal was brokered by Zak Brown and his Just Marketing agency. As well as F1′s global TV reach, UBS mentioned F1′s strong and growing presence in the Middle East and the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America as key reasons to invest.

There have not been too many new companies coming into F1 lately and the last couple of seasons have raised questions about F1′s attractiveness to sponsors, with cars like last year’s Brawn and this year’s Sauber largely unsponsored.

Ironically Sauber used to have another Swiss bank, Credit Suisse as a partner.

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30 Comments
  1. mo kahn says:

    They come and they go. But, UBS entry is welcomed however, especially considering the global economic crises.

  2. martin_tf says:

    Always good to see new sponsors. Hopefully their presence will encourage others.

  3. Smellyden says:

    James,

    on a side note, I have read on the Ferrari website horse whisperer blog he was really unhappy with Niki Lauda. Two questions really I understand Niki must of upset them, but for them to come back at him on the Ferrari web site like that, is the relationship that bad generally between Ferrari and Lauda? Also given that blog seems to write about anything, as well as being on the Ferrari site, any idea who writes it? I would assume it must be someone pretty high up, are there any murmurings in the paddock?

    1. Banjo says:

      Ferrari’s comments to Niki Lauda came across as really quite childish and immature. Not the kind of response you expect from a high profile, professional company such as Ferrari. “good old Niki has missed out on a fine opportunity to keep his mouth shut”. They need a slap.

      1. Stanton says:

        Agreed

      2. Werewolf says:

        Absolutely. Getting personal about pundits is unnecessary, unbecoming and, well, rather pathetic for a team with the heritage and status of Ferrari.

        Lauda is entitled to publish his views and F1 enthusiasts are perfectly capable of debating them! I wonder if Ferrari will respond to Mosley’s reported comments today …

      3. DinoF says:

        I agree with the other comments re: Ferrari’s response. However one thing that does ring true is that Nikki Lauda does have a tendency to say something and then “back peddle” later.

        Also, it seems to me that he benefited significantly from his days driving for Ferrari and its policy of “team first”. Of course in his days I guess it was accepted but nonetheless he benefited..

  4. Jack says:

    I’ve always wondered why anybody (except car manufacturers) would want to sponser F1. It must be unbelievably costly, and I can’t say I’ve ever been inspired to buy something because I saw its logo on Lewis Hamilton’s endplate flying past at 200kph. Just seems like a waste of money to me, but it must not be or they wouldn’t keep doing it!

    1. Aaron95 says:

      I suppose if you are a big brand in one part of the world, but unheard of in others, it’s a good opportunity to raise brand awareness. I had never heard of UBS until today, but now know all about them. Same with Santander when they started to sponsor F1, few people outside Spain had heard of them, now they have.

      1. Cliff says:

        ” few people outside Spain had heard of them, now they have”…Not quite true.

        The correct quote should be “few people in Britain had heard of them”. Santander are a big player on the Global financial scene. They now have a presence on the UK High Street.

    2. Howard Hughes says:

      That’s EXACTLY what I said last night to my girlfriend, the ex-Pirelli model I met on an Etihad flight last year when she was pouring me a glass of Johnny Walker and Red Bull and comforting me on the fact that I couldn’t like up my Marlboro… I tell you, without her calming influence (particularly when I thought I’d dropped my wallet in the aisle and I was panicking at losing my Santander credit card) I’d have been force to just sit somewhere with a bottle of Whyte & Mackays and drink myself silly…

      1. Adrian says:

        I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t ring true…like you’d need your girlfriend to poor you your drink on an Etihad flight…!!

      2. Cliff says:

        Howard,

        I read your comments whilst I was supposed to be working. I have to say, its one of the funniest comments I have read in ages. Brilliant!!!

      3. Howard Hughes says:

        Cheers pal

    3. weeraz says:

      I think more than anything its the subconscious association and familiarity you get with the brand.

      While it may not inspire you to go out and buy something on the spot, when you NEED a product which the brand offers, you may be biased towards a brand you’ve seen before while watching something you enjoy and associate with happiness.

      1. Jack says:

        come to think of it I do sometimes drink ‘Monster’ energy drink. Must be all the time i’ve spent staring at the top of Jenson Button’s head

    4. BillDay says:

      It’s for the purpose of entertaining high rollers at the races. That’s why the asian and arabian races are of interest.

    5. bankingcynic says:

      For a firm like UBS their primary reason for getting involved will be exclusive access to the F1 show. UBS has plenty of existing and potential high net worth clients, for which being able to offer seats/pit passes/private talks with drivers etc etc is the primary objective. A sticker on the car is just a nice touch for background on the embossed invitation. As an average punter with less than USD500k in investible assets unless you live in Switzerland you cant bank with them even if you want to!

    6. Frenchie says:

      Global reach is the answer Jack.

      Sponsorship generates a ‘feel good’ brand attribute to. Whilst you may not buy from companies that keep your sport/passion alive (the opposite example being the Indycar and the now defunct Champ Car series), a lot of people actually do.

      Last year Richard Branson managed to get a lot of value advertising with the BrawnGP team. It all comes to the deal made at the end of the day; in that it has to be financially profitable for all parties.
      Mind you, if banks knew how to manage money effectively, we would never had the subprime mortgage crisis.

    7. mtb says:

      I can’t say that I have ever been inspired either, but I have become aware of numerous companies/brands because of their involvement with F1.

      Additionally, some of these companies sell products which exploits their involvement with F1.

  5. Jon Wilde says:

    What does Global Partner mean? Will the branding appear on track at all?

    Does this kind of deal preclude exclusive deals with teams? I heard UBS put up some of the capital to enable the Peter Sauber to buy back of Sauber. Is there any truth in this?

    Will the deal have an impact on the Santander-Ferrari deal? F1 bought to you in Partnership with UBS with on track and car deals for Santander seems like a bit of a brand clash to me. Far reaching deals such as this could lead to further difficulties for teams attracting new sponsors. Following Bernie’s recent comments about teams not owning the space in the garage, that they currently use to extend branding could we see a Ferrari garage with UBS branding in the future?

    Interesting times in the commercial world of F1!!

    1. nash says:

      …it means that if UBS capsizes in the next global financial crisis… F1 will be hurt so much we will be driving Flintstones GPs…

    2. Cliff says:

      RBS are leaving F1. Santander sponsor a number of events and Allianz has the Pit Lane signage. Allianz also sponsored the Canadian GP along with trackside advertising, not to mention individual team sponsorship for Williams and McLaren. If teams are unable to attract sponsorship it won’t be because of Bernie’s deal making.

    3. Parthi says:

      I heard that UBS were looking at sponsoring Sauber…

      I would much rather see that

      1. Jon Wilde says:

        Could still happen, LG sponsor Red Bull & F1. DHL sponsor Mercedes and F1.

        Sauber could really do with some sponsors on the car next year!! Is it just me or does the UBS executive hosting deal with F1 sound similar to the Sauber C1 club?

  6. Frenchie says:

    With the Singapore Government being the main shareholder in UBS (deal starting at the Spore GP – surprise surprise!), I hope this’ll mean Singapore will extend its night race hosting deal beyond 2012.
    From a fan point of view, it beats hands down any other venue I have been to.

    I don’t really know how the UBS brand fares in terms of image after the global financial crisis but it is interesting to see them ventures to pastures new such as motorsport. So far, I have only seen them advertising/sponsoring classical music (much like Credit Suisse actually).

  7. Peter says:

    James – would it be possible for you to write an article on how the global financial situation has impacted upon f1, if any impact at all?

  8. Ken K says:

    Hi James,
    A little of the subject, who do you think is going to have the advantage this weekend??RedBull,McLaren or Ferrari?
    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it will be fascinating. Red Bull’s downforce will help them in the middle sector where they will have an advantage. They will come out of Eau Rouge quickly, but they will then lose on the long straight which follows. Ferrari should be right there, McLaren too.

  9. theRoswellite says:

    Being able to take advantage of the world economic depression (my god! ..did he use the “D” word?) is a luxury few financial institutions find themselves either able or willing to venture.
    UBS is certainly looking forward to some stronger brand association, especially in areas where F1 has a growing presence.
    It certainly is a buyers market, and I would imagine they were able to negotiate a favorable agreement…even with Bernie sitting just across the table.

    Few sporting enterprises find themselves so well positioned to step onto a truly global stage as does Formula One, in point of fact, with the coming inclusion of new races in Asia and the US no one is seeing, and certainly not marketing, F1 as a European formula. A great move by UBS.

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