2017 Formula One commercial preview

Much has changed in the political and commercial sphere of Formula One. With a new world champion guaranteed in 2017 and the series under new ownership, SportsPro presents its definitive sponsorship guide to every team.

There appears to be freshness to Formula One in 2017. 

Shiny new cars, with wider wheels and greater downforce, will line-up on the grid with promises of increased speed and exciting racing. What’s more, enduring owner Bernie Ecclestone has departed and – if pre-season testing is anything to go by – Mercedes’ hegemony at the top of the podium is set to be rivalled by a galvanised Ferrari. 

Ecclestone’s 40-year tenure ended at the turn of the year when American company Liberty Media completed its US$8 billion (UK£6.4 billion) takeover of the series. It has since installed Sean Bratches as managing director of commercial operations, while former Ferrari man Ross Brawn is now managing director of motor sports. Meanwhile Chase Carey, Ecclestone’s replacement, is expected to become a more prominent figure in the paddock after learning the ropes from the newly titled chairman emeritus throughout the 2016 season.       

The general perception is that after last season’s ‘soft opening’ the American owner will begin to put its footprint onto the series. Carey, who says that he thought for “ten seconds” before accepting the job, has been charged with plotting a long-term strategy for Formula One, which will undoubtedly have a more American feel to it. Nevertheless, the moustachioed American has already locked down long-term agreements with existing circuits in Russia and Canada – a tonic to Ecclestone’s protracted dealings with Hockenheimring and Monza that seemed to be an endless game of brinkmanship.

Elsewhere, Liberty have named Murray Barnett, Matthew Roberts and Norman Howells as head of sponsorship and partnerships, global head of research and director of global communications respectively. The new owners have also made the decision to move Formula One Group’s headquarters from their Princes Gate offices to a new UK£400million (US$500 million) development on London’s Regent Street.

Furthermore, in a recent interview with Formula1.com Carey stated that Formula One’s three biggest assets are the “cars and technology; the stars; and the events – the live experience”. He wants to create a festival-like “Super Bowl” atmosphere and, as a result, persuade fans and host venues to look beyond the two-hour race on Sunday. Post-race concerts – which have been major successes in Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur and Austin – are expected to become a feature across the global calendar.

On the track, the opening Grand Prix of the season will not include the reigning world champion, Nico Rosberg. The former Mercedes driver’s surprise decision to retire just five days after winning his maiden title means he becomes the seventh Formula One champion not to defend his championship. 

The German was not the only close season departure: cash-strapped team Manor F1 folded after its administrator failed to find a suitable buyer, while the German Grand Prix will be missing from the calendar and veteran driver Jenson Button joins Rosberg in retirement.   

On the pit-wall, there has also been a technical director’s merry-go round with Williams and Mercedes the main beneficiaries. After four years at Mercedes Paddy Lowe has rejoined Williams to replace Pat Symonds as the team's new chief technical officer. Meanwhile, former Ferrari and Renault man James Allison has arrived at champions Mercedes as their new technical director.  

The reduced 2017 grid will, however, have a slightly more technicolour feel to it with McLaren, now under the auspices of new executive director Zak Brown, returning to their original orange paint scheme, and Force India in the pink following their long-term sponsorship agreement with Austrian-based water technology firm BWT. Rest assured, Ferrari will continue to race in their traditional red livery.    

Much of the talk at Melbourne’s opening race will concern the new cars and the men in the cockpit, but during the close season each of the teams were busy accruing new commercial partners. Ahead of the first race, SportsPro presents its definitive sponsorship guide to every team.    
•         Team principal: Maurizio Arrivabene
•         Car:  Chassis: SF70H Power unit: Ferrari
•         Drivers: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
•         Title Sponsor: Santander
•         Sponsors: Shell, Alfa Romeo, UPS, Hublot, Kaspersky Lab, Pirelli, Weichai, Mahle, OMR Automotive, Philip Morris, Singha, Ray-Ban
•         Close season deals: Ray Ban
Force India 
•         Team principal: Vijay Mallya
•         Car: Chassis: VJM10 Power unit: Mercedes
•         Drivers: Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon 
•         Title Sponsor: Sahara 
•         Sponsors: BWT, Cartesiano Hotels, Claro, Felio Siby, LDNR.biz Eyewear, FXTM, Hype Energy, Infinitum, Inter, Johnnie Walker, Kingfisher, Magnesium Water, Meza Sports, NEC, Quaker State, Telcel, Telmex, Foresight and Vision       
•         Close season deals: BWT, Farah , Felio Siby, FXTMJohnnie WalkerForesight and Vision
•         Team principal: Guenther Steiner 
•         Car: Chassis: VF-17 Power unit: Ferrari
•         Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
•         Title Sponsor: Haas Automation
•         Sponsors: Alpinestars, Pirelli, Richard Mille, Wind Shear
•         Close season deals: N/A 
•         Team principal: Eric Boullier 
•         Car: Chassis: MCL32 Power unit: Honda  
•         Drivers: Fernando Alonso and  Stoffel Vandoorne
•         Title Sponsor: Honda 
•         Sponsors: Johnnie Walker, Castrol, Pirelli, SAP, CNN, Chandon, Richard Mille, NTT Communications, Michael Kors, Hilton, Norton Rose Fulbright, Santander, Hilton, CNN International, Stratasys, Calsonic Kansei, Akebono, Enkei, Nielsen Sports, Volvo Trucks, Kenwood, Mazak, Sparco, Technogym, BP and Castrol
•         Close season deals: New Era, BP and Castrol
•         Team principal: Toto Wolff  
•         Car: Chassis: F1 W08 EQ Power+ Power unit: Mercedes
•         Drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas
•         Title Sponsor: AMG Petronas 
•         Sponsors: UBS, Bose, Qualcomm, Epson, Hugo Boss, IWC Schaffhausen, Monster Energy, Wihuri, Puma, Starwood, Pure Storage, Allianz, TATA communications, ebmpapst, Spies Hecker, ASSOS, Tumi, Endless Advani, OMP, USI Italia, Schuberth, UB       
•         Close season deals: Monster EnergyWihuri
Red Bull Racing 
•         Team principal: Christian Horner 
•         Car: Chassis: RB13 Power unit: TAG Heuer
•         Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen
•         Title Sponsor: Red Bull 
•         Sponsors:  Rauch, Puma, ExxonMobil, Citrix, TAG Heuer, IBM, Simplivity, Pirelli, Hisense, Siemens, AT&T, Aston Martin,  Esso, IBM, 
•         Close season deals: Earin, Aston Martin, ExxonMobil, Tag Heuer 

Renault Sport F1
•         Team principal: Cyril Abiteboul
•         Car: Chassis: R.S.17 Power unit: Renault
•         Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer
•         Title Sponsor: Renault   
•         Sponsors: Eurodatacar, Mapfre, Microsoft, BP, Castrol, Pirelli, Bell & Ross, Elysium,  GF, 3D Systems, Alpinestars, APL, Boeing, DigiPen, Matrix, Genii, Siemens, OZ Racing, Matrix         
•         Close season deals: Mapfre, BP,  
•         Team principal: Monisha Kaltenborn  
•         Car:  Chassis: C36 Power unit: Ferrari
•         Drivers: Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein 
•         Title Sponsor: N/A
•         Sponsors: CNBC, Silanna, Pirelli, Edox, MODO Eyewear, Erreà, Mitsubishi, NetApp, OMP, Thomann, Carbon, Hewlett Packard, Interroll, mto, Riedel, Singapore Airlines, Vebego
•         Close season deals: Erreà
Toro Rosso 
•         Team principal: Franz Tost
•         Car: Chassis: STR12 Power unit: Renault
•         Drivers: Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr
•         Title Sponsor: Red Bull
•         Sponsors: Estrella Galicia, Gi Group, Pirelli, Riedel, Acronis, Casio Edifice, Hangar 7, Mobil 1, Esso
•         Close season deals: N/A
•         Team principal: Frank Williams and Claire Williams 
•         Car: Chassis: FW40 Power unit: Mercedes
•         Drivers: Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll
•         Title Sponsor: Martini 
•         Sponsors: Randstad, Pirelli, Rexona, Oris, Hackett London, Avanade, BT, Financial.org, JCB, Bombardier, PPG, Inancial, Alpinestars   
•         Close season deals: Bombardier, JCB,  


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