Formula One 2021 commercial guide: Every team, every sponsor, all the major rights deals

The BlackBook provides all the commercial details you need to know ahead of the start of the global motorsport series' 2021 season in Bahrain.

After an abridged season where Formula One returned to some old favourites such as Imola and Turkey, the series is promising that 2021 will be bigger and better than ever.   

Motorsport’s glamour series will travel to Saudi Arabia for the first time in December, racing on a specially built street circuit, a decision that has received mixed feedback from fans and human rights groups. Despite this, Formula One has long-term plans in the Middle East, with global director of race promotion Chloe Targett-Adams confirming that a Saudia Arabian Grand Prix will be a fixture on the calendar for years to come. 

“There’s a very young fanbase there,” adds Ellie Norman, the series’ marketing director. “We’ve got a huge opportunity to take entertainment in the form of Formula One, what we do around the main show itself, and engage with a young Arabic population.”  

Three sprint races have been proposed for the upcoming season, with Silverstone which hosts British Grand Prix eager to throw its hat in the ring. All told, the 2021 calendar will feature 23 races, making it the longest in Formula One history.  


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Teams reshuffle

On the team front, 2021 marks Aston Martin’s return to Formula One after 60 years following Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll’s acquisition of a majority stake in the British outfit. Its name replaces that of Racing Point on the grid, with Stroll having saved the team from bankruptcy in 2018.  

Elsewhere Renault has rebranded to Alpine for 2021. The French carmaker’s continued involvement in the series had been uncertain after Renault’s chief executive Luca de Meo revealed that the company was having doubts. 

Haas’ dramatic livery change for the upcoming season has not gone unnoticed; Dmitry Mazepin’s involvement in the team brings a new sponsor, Russian potash fertiliser company Uralkali. This year will also mark Williams Racing’s first season under new owners Dorliton Capital, an American investment firm which acquired the team from the Williams family in 2020.   


Engaging with a young audience

On the media side, Formula One is continuing to target and engage with a younger audience, says Norman. “Since 2017 we now have 41 per cent of the fanbase under the age of 35,” she tells BlackBook Motorsport. In 2020, the series launched its ‘We Race as One’ campaign, which is focused on “sustainability, diversity, inclusion and community”, all of which are areas that Norman believes are important in attracting a younger audience.  

In addition, Formula One has increased its social media drive to engage with this demographic, with significant success. “Like many other sports, we have launched on TikTok, seeing great follower growth there and being much more fun and having a relatable tone of voice,” Norman adds.  

Formula One will also test HDR broadcasts throughout the 2021 season to elevate its content while the series has updated its dedicated streaming service, F1 TV, for the first time since its launch in 2018, expanding into Brazil, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.   

As with many sports properties, Formula One posted a loss in 2020. Owners Liberty Media announced that the series lost US$385 million in 2020 amid the pandemic. Despite this, an impressive 17 races were held last year, albeit with limited fan attendance.  

Netflix’s Formula One series ‘Drive to Survive’ has recently released its third season ahead of the 2021 season. “It has certainly been one of the most powerful marketing tools,” Norman says, hailing its impact on the series. “It’s been incredible for the sport.” 



Teams

Alfa Romeo 

Last season: Eighth (constructors’ championship) and 16th (drivers’ championship, Kimi Räikkönen)  

Drivers: Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi  

Owner: Longbow Finance 

Managing director: Frédéric Vasseur (also team principal) 

Base: Hinwil, Switzerland 

Power unit: Ferrari  

Title partner: PKN Orlen (petrochemicals), value unreported, extended 2020, expires 2021 

Other key partners: Adler Pelzer Group, Acer, Built for Athletes, Carrera, Singha, Additive Industries, Globeair, Iqoniq, Iveco, Livinguard, Marelli, Mitsubishi Electric, Pirelli, Save the Children, Sparco, Walter Meier, Zadara, AB Dynamics, Brutsch-Ruegger, Riedel, Built for Athletes, Floyd, AM Solutions

What they’ve been up to: Polish petroleum firm PKN Orlen confirmed at the end of last year that it would remain the title sponsor of Alfa Romeo, who still have Poland’s Robert Kubica on their books as a reserve driver. It was one of a spate of extensions announced by the team ahead of the new season, alongside prolonged deals with Acer and Singha. One relationship Alfa Romeo have not yet committed to long term is their engine supply partnership with Ferrari, which expires at the end of the 2021 campaign. When asked by the Blick website whether the contract would be extended, team principal Frédéric Vasseur said: “You can never tell. It’s like with a marriage. No one guarantees you’ll stay with the same woman forever – like me.” 


Alpine 

Last season: Fifth (constructors’ championship) and fifth (drivers’ championship, Daniel Ricciardo)  

Drivers: Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon  

Owner: Groupe Renault  

Chief executive: Laurent Rossi 

Base: Enstone, UK 

Power unit: Renault  

Title partner: N/A 

Other key partners: Castrol, RCI Bank and Services, Mapfre, BP, DuPont, Microsoft, Bell & Ross, Eurodatacar, Pirelli, Genii Capital, Yahoo, 3D Systems, HP, PerkinElmer, Le Coq Sportif, GF Machining Solutions, Siemens, Alpinestars, Boeing Research & Technology, Elysium, GCAPS, Hexis, Jabil, Linde, Matrix, Roland, Trak Racer, Volume Graphics, RAW Super Drink

What they’ve been up to: Renault announced in September that its Formula One team would be rebranding to Alpine in order to shine a light on the French automotive manufacturer’s sports car brand, which was relaunched in 2017. The team’s 2021 season will be headlined by the return of Fernando Alonso, who won back-to-back drivers’ championships for Renault in 2005 and 2006. Alpine has also ditched the team principal role for this year, opting instead to split former chief Cyril Abiteboul’s responsibilities between executive director Marcin Budkowski and racing director Davide Brivio. 


AlphaTauri 

Last season: Seventh (constructors’ championship) and tenth (drivers’ championship, Pierre Gasly)  

Drivers: Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda  

Owner: Red Bull 

Team principals: Franz Tost and Helmut Marko  

Base: Faenza, Italy  

Power unit: Honda  

Main sponsor: AlphaTauri (clothing) 

Other key partners: MyWorld, Pirelli, Randstad, Moose Craft Hotdogs, RDS, Piloti, Riedel, Edifice Casio, RDS, Simens, DAZN, ICM.com, Fantom

What they’ve been up to: Like big brothers Red Bull, AlphaTauri will be relying on a Honda power unit for the foreseeable future, with new driver Yuki Tsunoda charged with utilising it in order to push the team up the constructors’ rankings. With Pierre Gasly having brought AlphaTauri their first win since 2008, he and Tsunoda will be hoping to provide more drama to fuel the original content deal the team signed with DAZN. Tapped to bolster the digital sports media company’s Japanese Formula One offering, the deal offers AlphaTauri the opportunity to establish a major foothold in their new driver’s homeland. 

Yuki Tsunoda joins AlphaTauri for 2021 after just one season in junior category Formula 2


Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point BWT Mercedes)  

Last season: Fourth (constructors’ championship) and fourth (drivers’ championship, Sergio Perez) 

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll 

Owner: Lawrence Stroll  

Chief executive: Otmar Szafnauer  

Base: Silverstone, United Kingdom  

Power unit: Mercedes  

Title partner:Cognizant (digital solutions), between USD$30 million and USD$40 million per year, expiry unknown  

Other key partners:Crypto.com, Netapp, SentinelOne, Bombardier, Girard Perregaux, Peroni Libera, BWT, Replay, Ravenol, EPOS, JCB, Pirelli, OGIO  

Suppliers: Ebb3, UPS Direct, STL, Pelmark Teckit, Voip Unlimited, Condeco, IFS, Schuberth, Hackett, Alpinestars   

What they’ve been up to: In 2021, Aston Martin will make the return to Formula One for the first time in 60 years after Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll acquired a 16.7 per cent stake in the British car brand. The team assumes Racing Point's place on the grid, with Stroll having acquired the bankrupt team two years prior.  

Aston Martin have already sunk their teeth into the series and signed several sponsors, most notably solutions firm Cognizant as title sponsor for around US$35 million per year.   

Aston Martin returns to Formula One after 60 years, replacing Racing Point after Lawrence Stroll gains a majority stake in the British outfit


Ferrari  

Last season: Sixth (constructors’ championship) and eighth (drivers’ championship, Charles Leclerc)  

Drivers: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz 

Owner: Fiat  

Team principal: Mattia Binotto  

Base: Maranello, Italy   

Power unit: Ferrari  

Title partner: Mission Winnow (Phillip Morris International, tobacco)  

Principal partner:Shell  

Other key partners: Ray-Ban, Richard Mille, Kaspersky, UPS, Weichai, Estrella Galicia, OMR, MAHLE 

Suppliers: Pirelli, Puma, Radiobook, Brembo, SKF, VistaJet, Giorgio Armani, Marelli, NGK Spark Plugs, Experis, Riedel Communications, Iveco, Plantir Technologies, Bell Racing Helmets, Technogym, Alfa Romeo, Garrett Motion, Sabelt  

What they’ve been up to: 2020 was a disappointing season for Ferrari as they sunk down to sixth in constructors’ rankings.   

Ahead of the 2021 season, the team will at least look the part with Charles Leclerc and new driver Carlos Sainz to be decked out in Giorgio Armani suits and travelwear, as well as Richard Mille timepieces. Perhaps more importantly, principal partner Shell agreed an extension. An improved 2021 performance is a necessity for the Scuderia after 2020 Q2 losses were “in the tens of millions”, said company chief executive Louis Camilleri. In a move to diversify, Ferrari are expanding their racing operations with a return to World Endurance Championship from 2023, while an IndyCar entry has also been mooted. 


Haas  

Last season: Ninth (constructors’ championship and 19th (drivers’ championship, Romain Grosjean) 

Drivers: Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher 

Owner: Gene Haas  

Chief operating officer: Joe Custer   

Team principal: Guenther Steiner   

Base: Kannapolis, United States   

Power unit: Ferrari  

Title partner:Uralkali   

Principal partner: N/A 

Other key partners: 1&1, Under Armour, Schuberth, Stich’d, Ionos, Taittinger, The Memento Group, Cyrus Geneve

Suppliers: Alpinestars, Pirelli  

What they’ve been up to: Haas continued its downward spiral in 2020, falling to ninth in the constructors’ championship table. Finishing the season with a meagre three points, team principal Guenther Steiner commented that there was a “big chance” that the team would not survive the year.   

Wanting to ensure financial stability, the team signed Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and along with him came Uralkali, a potash fertilizer producer owned by his father. When the team’s 2021 livery was unveiled, it bore a striking resemblance to the Russian flag which is banned in professional sport, prompting a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation. 

Haas' new livery for 2021 has got the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency


McLaren  

Last season: Third (constructors’ championship) and sixth (drivers’ championship, Carlos Sainz)  

Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris  

Owner: McLaren Group and MSP Sports Capital (minority owner) 

Chief executive: Zak Brown   

Base: Woking, United Kingdom  

Power unit: Mercedes  

Title partner: N/A 

Other key partners: British American Tobacco, Dell, Arrow Electronics, Gulf, Richard Mille, Cisco Webex, Hilton, CNBC, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Miory Steel, Garena, FxPro, Klipsch, Deloitte, Tumi, Iqoniq, Mind, Logitech, Buzz & Co, FAI Aviation Group, Ashurst, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kust), Huski Chocolate, Bitci.com, QNTMPAY, Alteryx

Suppliers: Darktrace, Splunk, Sikkens, Sparco, Pirelli, Volvo, Mazak, Marelli, Enkei, Stratasys, Hookit, AzkoNobel, Castore, Entain 

What they’ve been up to: Securing third place in the constructors’ championship in 2020 is a testament to McLaren’s hard work behind the scenes over the past few years. Securing their future in Formula One financially at the end of 2020, McLaren announced they had agreed to sell one third of the team to MSP Sports Capital. This will see the investment company inject UK£185 million into McLaren Racing up to 2022.   

Going into 2021, the team has signed a deal to use a Mercedes power unit after a stint with Renault. The return to Mercedes could prove valuable for McLaren, as the team’s previous stint with the German manufacturer resulted in three drivers’ championships and a single constructors’ championship. 

Daniel Ricciardo has made the switch to McLaren for 2021 in a bid to increase his world championship chances


Mercedes 

Last season: Winners (constructors’ championship) and winners (drivers’ championship, Lewis Hamilton) 

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas 

Owner: Daimler AG, Ineos, Toto Wolff (33 per cent each) 

Chief executive: Toto Wolff (also team principal) 

Base: Brackley, UK 

Power unit: Mercedes 

Title partner: Petronas, US$39.5 million a year, extended 2017, expiry unknown 

Principal partner: Ineos, US$25.8 million a year, five-year deal until the end of 2024 

Other key partners: UBS, Epson, CrowdStrike, The Ritz-Carlton, Bose, Tommy Hilfiger, IWC Schaffhausen, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Monster Energy, Pure Storage, CrowdStrike, Tibco, AMD, Belstaff, TeamViewer

Suppliers: Puma, Police Eyewear, Oz Racing, Endless, Pirelli, Axalta 

What they’ve been up to: Having wrapped up their seventh straight drivers’ and constructors’ titles, Mercedes rounded out 2020 with the announcement that Ineos had acquired a 33 per cent stake in the team. The long-rumoured agreement sees the petrochemicals giant become a one-third equal partner in the team alongside Daimler AG and Toto Wolff. While the deal could be considered a sign that Daimler is looking to gradually step away from Formula One, the company’s chairman Ola Kallenius has said the Silver Arrows “remain firmly committed” to the sport. He added that “the forthcoming cost cap along with the new shareholding structure put us in an even stronger position for continued success”.

Lewis Hamilton is bidding to surpass Michael Schumacher's and win a record eighth Formula One drivers' championship


Red Bull Racing 

Last season: Second (constructors’ championship) and third (drivers’ championship, Max Verstappen) 

Drivers: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez  

Owner: Red Bull 

Team principal: Christian Horner 

Base: Milton Keynes, UK 

Power unit: Honda 

Title partner: N/A  

Other key partners: Esso, Mobil 1, Tag Heuer, Citrix, Rauch, AT&T, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, INTERprotección, Siemens, Telcel, Claro, Iris, DMG Mori, Hexagon, PWR Performance Products, Ansys, Gold Standard, Sabelt, Precor, Oz Racing, Oura, Puma, Pirelli, America Movil, Therabody, AlphaTauri, Walmart, Oracle, Armor All, Tezos, Cash App

What they’ve been up to: Honda may be exiting Formula One after this season, but Red Bull will continue using its power unit technology until 2025 after striking a deal with the Japanese company. The move follows February’s announcement by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) that places a freeze on power unit development from the 2022 season until 2024. That decision also cleared the way for Red Bull to launch Red Bull Powertrains Limited, which will manage the Honda engine project. It signals what team boss Christian Horner has hailed as “a significant step for Red Bull in its Formula One journey”. 


Williams  

Last season: Tenth (constructors’ championship) and 18th (drivers’ championship, George Russell) 

Drivers: Nicholas Latifi and George Russell  

Owner: Dorilton Capital   

Chief executive: Jost Capito   

Team principal: Simon Roberts  

Base: Grove, United Kingdom  

Power unit: Mercedes  

Title partner: Williams have decided against finding a title sponsor for 2021 after chief executive Jost Capito said he was unwilling to sacrifice the brand for “last drop of sponsor money”.  

Key partners: Sofina, Lavazza, Acronis, Versa, the Financial Times, Ponos, Symantec, Bremont, Iqoniq, PPG, Thales, Dtex, B&R, Crew Clothing, Nexa3D, Life Fitness, Spinal Injuries Association, Honibe, Dorilton Ventures, The Point.1888

Suppliers: Pirelli, Umbro, OMP, Zeiss, Precision Hydration, U-Earth, KX    

What they’ve been up to: 2020 marked another difficult year for Williams Racing, as the team did not manage to score a single point during the abridged season.   

After pre-season testing Williams terminated their title sponsorship with technology brand Rokit as they were put up for sale. Since then, Williams has been acquired by American investment firm Dorilton Capital for US$200 million.   

Looking to 2021, the team is aiming to bounce back and end a run of three consecutive last place finishes in the constructors’ championship three times in a row. Despite focusing on 2022, when the regulations will undergo a transformation, the team brought something close to a first-race upgrade to testing.   

Since being purchased by Dorilton Capital, Williams remains in a more financially stable position for 2021 onwards


Global partners  

Aramco, DHL, Emirates, Heineken, Pirelli, Rolex  

Series partners  

Mercedes AMG, AWS, Ferrari Trento, Liqui Moly, Zoom, Drive Coffee, Herjavec Group, Workday (regional)

Major broadcast partners  

Asia 

China: CCTV, Tencent, GuangDong Tv, Shanghai TV  

Japan: Fuji Television Network, DAZN  

Europe 

Austria: Servus TV, ORF  

Belgium: RTBF, Telenet   

Denmark: TV3, ViaSat  

Finland: MTV  

France: Canal+  

Germany: Sky Deutschland   

Hungary: M4  

Italy: Sky Italia  

Netherlands: Ziggo  

Norway: Viasat  

Poland: Eleven Sport Network  

Portugal: Eleven Sports  

Russia: Match TV  

Spain: Movistar, DAZN  

Sweden: Viasat, TV10  

Switzerland: SRF, RSI, RTS  

United Kingdom: Sky Sports, Channel 4 (highlights and British Grand Prix live)  

North America  

Canada: RDS, TSN, Discovery Velocity, V Channel  

USA: ESPN  

South America  

Brazil: TBC  

Latin America: ESPN, Fox Sports Channels  

Middle East  

Israel: TBC  

Africa  

Sub-Saharan Africa: Supersport  

Oceania  

Australia: Fox Sports, Network Ten  

New Zealand: Spark Sport


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