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.