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Sponsor boost for Renault and Mercedes F1 teams ahead of new season
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Feb 2018   |  6:50 pm GMT  |  79 comments

Two of the manufacturer-backed F1 teams have received a boost of income from sponsors, with one sponsor increasing its spend and another returning to F1 after a few years on the sidelines.

Renault announced yesterday that it has increased its involvement with BP, following on from news of its partnership with insurance firm MAPFRE. Meanwhile Mercedes finally announced its new clothing supplier deal with Tommy Hilfiger, which has been an open secret in the F1 paddock for some time.

The company previously sponsored Ferrari in the Schumacher era of the 1990s (above).

The Hilfiger deal, worth between £3m and £5m a year according to F1 commercial sources, is interesting as the word is that it has an extended association with Lewis Hamilton.

The world champion spoke last season about having lots of new plans and initiatives in the pipeline, which he said he was excited about and something around clothing and apparel has been widely rumoured for some time.

Mercedes cleared the way for the Hilfiger deal by ending its association with Hugo Boss, which had come across to the Silver Arrows team after decades as a partner of McLaren.

They are now in Formula E.

Renault has a long history with Elf and more recently Total, but the BP deal, which also includes Castrol, began last season and has been extended for at last five more years, according to yesterday’s announcement.

It also goes beyond F1 and according to the team, the partnership will “see the partners collaborate on the joint development of advanced mobility solutions and new technologies.”

BP announced record profits today of £4.4 billion for 2017, a four fold increase, partly due to a rise in the price of oil.

However, according to the Financial Times, BP had a further $3.18bn hit as part of more than $65bn (£46.5bn) total paid out in fines and compensation relating to the Gulf of Mexico spillage.

Chase the money

The sponsorship market in F1 remains challenging, with many other ways for brands to spend their marketing dollars. However, F1 remains a unique prospect for brands that wish to reach a truly global audience, as few sports can match its reach in key markets like Asia, North and South America and Europe.

The teams as well as the F1 management group, are also developing more sophisticated ways of giving sponsors value for money, using social media and digital marketing tools.

This will become increasingly important as F1 disappears behind a paywall on TV. This year Italy has followed Spain in going behind a paywall and the UK will follow in 2019. France bucked the trend with a new partial outlet on free to air TV, alongside the payTV offering on Canal Plus.

The F1 marketeers are also able to segment the audience more effectively today than in the past, thanks to digital tools and F1 has put a big emphasis on reaching key segments of the audience and in pushing into China and the US markets where they believe there is more growth. A second race in the USA is widely tipped to be announced later this year, possibly in Miami or another US ‘destination’ city.

All photos: LAT Images

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F1 needs to develop its own streaming service….it is the easiest way to reach their fans directly, and to also reach the widest gamut of said fanbase.

They could start the process of digitising every season they have on file, and start putting them up 1 or 2 a month. The older generations could access their favourites and relive the “glory days”, the younger fans could see what the racing used to be like and what their elders keep banging on about.

They could branch out into so many documentaries and shows talking to former drivers and team bosses, rivalries, teams etc. People want the content, there’s just nowhere to really access it. They talk about the rich history of F1 and wanting to preserve it in the tracks etc….this is the next logical step.

All the while they just negotiate with the Pay TV providers to have their coverage on the streaming service in the applicable regional areas for a small refund of costs paid or something so that people can just pay for the F1 coverage they want….not the bloated TV packages currently on offer.

I swear most people would pay for access to just F1, be it historical and/or current, they just need to give the right service.


Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, or a potato sack. Whoop de do, people change clothing all the time.
But the Renault deal with BP sounds like a very clever move by BP. Renault will now run Castrol oil, & assist BP to improve the quality of the Castrol product. Castrol will be nominated as the OEM oil for thousands of new Renaults, which will be advertised via the F1 platform.
So for a modest outlay, in Global Company terms, BP will recover a huge amount of the money paid out in their fines, just by people servicing their new Renault, because $4.4 Billion is just not enough for Grandma’s Christmas hamper.


And Gene Haas just snagged fashion brand Geoffrey Beene for his US based team Haas F1.

From 2018 onwards, they will officially be called a Haas Beene. 😀


Ohhh nice one 😀


Isn’t Hilfiger part of the Stroll empire? I thought Lawrence had bought some of the Williams advertising space to sell on himself? If that’s the case surely he’s either paying twice for something or if he hasn’t paid Williams I’d imagine they’d be pretty livid at “their” sponsor going to another team.


Where is McLaren these days with it’s own sponsorship “search” going ? Seems that, thanks to Honda, they still don’t have much to market.

And, yes, the pay wall trend, as commented on above, will probably not have a positive effect on sponsors for the rank and file of the world.

Tornillo Amarillo

Maybe MAPFRE -insurance from Spain- is just more attracted by the presence of Sainz jr in F1.

Carlitos could do podiums this year if the car qualifies a little bit better (P5 for example), provides the team finally had succeeded in bringing some “magical modes” to the engine.


So the interwebs have apparently branded 2018 Formula 1 season “Ugly” because of the intro of halos and outro of grid girls.

I do believe there is nearly unanimous agreement on this rebranding, correct?


Is this your first time on the internet, Sebee? It’s pretty well proven that extreme opinions make themselves most well known, even when in the minority. Most people probably don’t care much on either topic.


James, off topic for the article I know, but haven’t seen you comment on / write about it just yet. What do you make of the 2018 engine regs surrounding: 1. Oil burn, 2. ‘Breather fluids’, 3. Intake air temperatures? Do you think Mercedes advantage could be significantly hurt in there somewhere, or is it something all manufacturers have been exploiting? Thanks


More importantly any news on how much bhp Renault have found over the winter?


@ mark…I’m expecting an overall loss but they make make it to the checkered flag now that they’ve beefed it all up!!!!!!


Comparing the classic 2005 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team sponsorship list with the current Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, it’s clear that they currently have a lot of sponsors (as they previously did) however the lack of a title sponsor (and big money from tobacco) would probably leave a hole in their budget. Looking at the 2005 car, it also seems that their sponsors at the time had a much bigger presence with larger logos on the car whereas the current car features more of a list of smaller logos.


Still one of my favourite F1 cars 🙂


Hi James, nice article…Doesn’t Stroll snr have interest/ownership in Tommy Hilfiger/Michael Kors? One would have thought that there would be a logical Hilfiger-Williams tie-up, or do you think Hilfiger have taken the initiative to do what’s better for the brand rather than the Stroll family themselves?


It is likely the Tommy Hilfiger deal is Laurence Stroll making his opening move to buy li’l Lance a seat at Mercedes at some point in the future. It will be fascinating to see how much Dad is willing to spend to buy Lance a front of the grid F1 seat. What does it cost, $100 million per season? $200 million?


Lance Stroll’s father is an investor who made Hilfiger a business success. Interesting that Hilfiger now aligns with Mercedes. Hey, some capitalism still alive in F1 !


Do you guys think certain someone was having a poke at F1 with this Falcon Heavy Logo?

So…last number I saw the Tesla Roadster was traveling at a top speed of 26000km/hr. and it was coasting. Match that efficiency hybrid PU! 🙂


Not fair Sebee. The Tesla used an additional 5 million lb. of thrust & has had most of its aerodynamic drag removed.
I think that counts as outside assistance, & therefore it should be black flagged.


And its wheels were hardly turning sebee!


That’s the only way to make the Pirelli tires last the distance!


“last number I saw the Tesla Roadster was traveling at a top speed of 26000km/hr. and it was coasting”

And I’m a human capable of traveling at well over 100kph, and that’s on cruise control.

Come on Sebee, you can do better 🙂


I can’t.

No way I can do better than 26,000km/hr without a 3.0 F1 V10.


🐓Le Coq Sportif and Kellogs ROLLED up in there also Sebee 🐓🤣


Funny you should bring that up. They are actually seriously looking into renewable power sources for rockets / spaceships.
Of course the solar sale which we know works can propel a space ship upward of 200,000 KPH.
Obviously you already know that the Musk rockets rely heavily on recycling cutting costs and materials.


It would take the solar sail till Neptune to get to that speed, & you can’t turn around & come back. So you might want to pack a good lunch.


have they found batteries for their electric cars yet?


But the fact that’s it’s ten times faster than anything we currently have will make up for the ‘slow’ acceleration
Solar sails can change direction so coming back is no problem.


I think the falcon looks a lot like Foghorn Leghorn. “Tha’s a joke son, I say, tha’s a joke!”


More like a ‘hybrid’ leghorn and cockatoo, eh?


…and that was just the 2008 model..


…you know. the original logo with the “two 1s”.


I remember a forum thread circa 2014 where some people were completely unaware of the white space 1 in that logo and thought the red was supposed to be the 1.
Blew my mind.


the 1 ran into the f, leaving behind a red trail.


The original sign looks more F1 but it has a bad Bernie stench to it.
Though this new Liberty insigna maybe up for a review as it looks similar to another brand of the other organisation decides to rumble. (Can’t remember which brand but it did make the news when they ROLLED it out last year). The new F1 sign does not evoke speed like the previous one.
You’d expect both signs to have the outline of a F1 car embedded in there somewhere.
Liberty might as well call them Carbillions☠after they suck F1 dry.


Actually…they DID change the sound under the intro! How funny.

Must be because I’m usually setting up my treadmill…how could I have missed it.

Here is the previous one when F1 sounded right:

And here is PU vacuums hoovering up the track

How funny.
In one the engines feature clearly.
In the other the music is dominant.


You are right 🤣
Next thing they’ll be adding the Dukes of Hazard car horn 😄👍


That Bernie era logo has real F1 engine sounds going along with the intro. That’s the reason they killed it. They couldn’t just substitute the sounds for PU because you know I’d call them out on it.

It’s true too. I look at that old logo and I think V10 F1 engine 20,000rpm. Everyone does.


Next year the sponsors will have a problem as the audience effect behind the pay wall kicks in.
In a few years will it end up with a Space To Let sign on the wings or will they be sponsoring Charities for free on their cars ?


Has sponsorship been a problem for other paywalled sports? Honest question.

Do sponsors get more return on investment by advertising to self selecting audiences with known disposable income (pay tv subscribers) than they would if they went with free access? If not, could they get a better return by focusing in on them, while ignoring the can’t pay/won’t pay crowd?

If you were employed to make money for your employer, could you justify the free access model over bringing in (for example) $1Bn as F1/Bernie did with the Sky deal? How would you justify it?


Treadhead, were those my options, I’d probably go the really targeted route of internet advertising. Bring on OTT streaming…


My Hamfosi sense is tingling. Methinks, The King had a hand to play in Tommy joining the team. So much for pointlessly walking the red carpet/fashion shows.


Oh no….there was a point to it….

Look at me, look at me…


Isn’t everyone always complaining about how boring and uninteresting the drivers are?
Now Lewis does something different that might attract new people to the sport and you’re decrying him as an attention whore…
God forbid he have an interest other than motoracing and use his influence and personal brand to do his interests on a level everyone else could only dream of…


is that not what all the f1 drivers ask of us?


So will Boss sponsor Mercedes E car in the future ?
Congrats to Mercs on the Tommy Hilfigure deal.
Will be abit weird not seeing The Hugo Boss sign on the cars & uniforms. Then again when Hugo Boss went off to Mercedes the Mclarens looked abit odd without the Hugo Boss sponsor decals.
Well done to Renault. Still abit dodgy signing up the FIA guy with bag loads of info on all team cars telemetry & insider knowledge. He should have had another year of gardening leave before Renault could use him.


For sale:

No longer available collectors Hugo Boss AMG Mercedes Petronas F1 team black leather jacket. Model:Norvan Size:56 I must say…very futuristic, cool and guaranteed to get you positive comments from the ladies.

Hamilton fans…you too can now look like Lewis! Or a rock star. Retail $1799.

Never worn…Santa got the wrong house this Christmas. Bidding starts at $2000. 🙂


Doesn’t Lawrence Stroll have a foothold in Tommy Hilfiger?

Is the goal to get a foot in at Mercedes factory team to try and eventually use for Lance? He’s already running the PU after all. Seems like it has some long game hope perhaps?

…except Mercedes have all those prospects on the books with Ocon and Wehrlein. Too early to speculate who gets Bottas’ seat in 2019?


wolff said he’s happy with bottas,


It’s February.

What will he say in September?


even you of all people should know my parallels with prophecies.
how may electric cars in the pipeline?


Not enough to meet ever growing demand.


forecourts are struggling to get rid of what they have.


Those was my first thoughts too. Why not partner with Stroll now unless its a seed for the future?


Don’t be silly, Stroll Jnr is sh*te.


Exactly what I was thinking. I posted before scrolling down


Question James if you had to pick a city in America to host F1 where would you want it to be?


Miami would be good

California somewhere would be excellent as these are loads of F1 fans there (highest number of users of this site of any US state)


Possibly commensurate with it being the most populous U.S. state? I don’t see Laguna Seca or Sonoma being up to F1 standards unless a big investor is found. Sure be fun to see F1 cars on either though. Curious to see what unfolds.


Both tracks are pretty good but they’re lacking in grand stands and there’s probably only 1 realistic overtaking opportunity at each track.


I can’t understand liberty’s enthusiasm for street circuits. Monaco would be enough for me, even though I think Monaco is a little outdated…the cars are way to big for the track imo. Singapore and Baku don’t do anything for me, even though they gave two great races last year.
USA must have plenty of great tracks, with a little updating, could host F1.
Lacuna seca for instance.


It’s the sense of event you get with street tracks plus the fact that public are on the doorstep, transport infrastructure is there plus hotels and other entertainments


Of course James, the practicality of a city street race is tops, but I can’t really see this working in the US. I would think that most US city residents would be more irritated at the inconvenience it would bring to there lives on any given weekend. Unless they can find a city that has 200,000 F1 fans.
Maybe a track just outside a big city??.


Would checking website traffic be a better method for finding new F1 venues? Rather than which city is likely to pay handsomely for the privilege?

At least those races would be popular!


Only if you have a promoter willing to pay in those locations..


Looking forward to the 2019 JA F1 race of Miami 🙂


bp has a history of dumping it’s uk workforce and a poor safety record in the USA( Texas city, gulf of mexico) when it rebadged itself it dropped British from it’s name. So not surprised it has decided to sponsor a French team.


If they’ve dropped the “British”, what are they called now?


I remember “Beyond Petroleum” being a thing a few years back.


@james k, I worked for BP at the time of the rebrand and they were desperate to drop the British link. Hence they became bp and refused to allow for any interpretation of what it meant. Several employees suggested Beyond Petroleum but management insisted it was to be just …bp…
However this did not stop Obama calling them British after the Gulf of Mexico dissaster.


Caused by a US contractor’s blow out preveter failing. As a BP shateholder i was annoyed by that.


#warley also a shareholder at the time but the cause was not the blow out preventer. That device was a safety backup that failed. Bit like a wheel nut on an f1 car not being put on and the tether fails allowing the wheel to come adrift.


Ok, I wasn’t aware of that, thanks👍
But I really can’t see anybody seeing them as anything else than “ British petroleum” imo. But thanks for the update😊


That’s £5m that Mercedes don’t need to take from the winnings of the bottom teams. It’s not like Mercedes or Renault are struggling for a few quid, unlike Force India.


Looks like the death of capitalism, despite panic on the stock markets, is a bit premature………..

I really do hope that American street circuits are NOT coming back, because, let’s face it, they were too slow. Dallas, Phoenix, Detroit, Long Beach……….I think the average Stateside FL was around 85 MPH, which isn’t exactly a great demonstration of a grand prix car high speed prowess. Add on bumps, abrasive surfaces, manhole covers, chain link fencing, concrete walls……………..those street circuits weren’t very friendly to TV camera’s either.

I’m not really bothered about what country hosts a race, but it has to be on a proper purpose built circuit where the average FL is at least around 125 MPH, otherwise a Formula 1 car trying to navigate a street circuit does look a bit clumsy.


James, what do you make of McLaren seemingly losing their deal with BP/Castrol? They’ve been removed from the Partners section of McLaren’s site. I would’ve expected that deal to be even more important in the McLaren-Renault era, unless McLaren have signed a different fuel/oil sponsor.


Always better to have same fuel as works team

Red Bull use Mobil, so if McLaren have another supplier lined up it means Renault has to dyno test 3 different engine specs!


In the same vein – is it normal for F1 sponsor deals to end without confirmation from either side? I’ve noticed that McLaren have removed a lot of sponsors from their official site.


Yes that is common

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