F1 lands Heineken as series sponsor

Rolex and Pirelli have been the trackside advertising folks for a while now in Formula 1 but that last “big” sponsorship deal I can recall was a deal with LG electronics. It was odd to see a F1 logo on their boxes and packaging inside a Wal Mart on a stack of 42” LCD display but there you go.

Today’s announcement that Heineken will become the trackside sponsor in a five-year deal for $150m is certainly good news for F1 and it will happen as soon as the Canadian Grand Prix in June. Where you would traditionally see Rolex or Pirelli banners, you will now see Heineken banners.

The beer company is also said to be interested in putting branding on a team’s cars and the teams will have to pitch the beer giant with the most compelling presentation receiving Heineken’s sponsor dollars.

When tobacco money left the sport, there was a void and many felt it would be filled by tech companies because, as we all know, F1 is the pinnacle of technology innovation in motorsport but guess what? Apple, Google, Facebook, TI, Dell, IBM, HP, Lenovo or Yahoo did not engage the sport in a big way. Some had a logo here or there but no title sponsorship or series sponsorship. To be honest, it was a bit disappointing to see such an indifference from the tech companies who are marketing juggernauts these days.

This leaves companies that have logical involvement like Pirelli and Mobile 1 and I applaud their interest in the sport for sure. It also left open the alcohol industry with Johnny Walker and now Heineken. If the series can’t have tobacco money, then perhaps alcohol would make sense? Apparently it does to Heineken and I say welcome aboard folks.

I may not look as good as Tom Hiddleston when I drink it and clearly I don’t pull off the swarthy good looks of Benicio Del Toro while I partake or a cold Heineken but clearly the beer giant that is still ran by the founder’s great-granddaughter and who still make beer with three ingredients—water, barley and hops—is a unique and significant partner for F1 and good news for teams as well as the commercial rights holder. I wonder if JMI was involved in this deal?

There is also the question of the craft brewer and the impact these small, dedicated breweries have had on mega-brewers such as Anheuser Busch and Heineken with regards to their marketing and social media outreach. These small, closely held corporations of craft brewers sell the concept of premium ingredients uniquely combined to create an uncompromising blend and terrific product and they do so using all the social media tools available.

I have never visited the Heineken brewery but I happen to live next door to Anheuser Busch and they have been a client of mine for some time. I’ve seen how they make beer and to be honest, the brewmaster at AB has no less passion or commitment to the craft than the bearded, hipsters at New Belgium brewery in Boulder Colorado (yes, I’ve been there too…super nice folks and very passionate about their beer).

This is all good news for a sport that the same social media is claiming as deceased but with partners like Heineken involved, it seems F1 is ready to go on the cart.
Hat Tip:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Esteban Muller

Sauber!!! Oportunity!!


Didn’t Rolex get invited to F1 by a team to talk sponsorship, Bernie saw the name on the Paddock Club guest list and offered them a better deal as a trackside sponsor? It was certainly a complaint a few years ago that he was making life hard for the teams by poaching their potential sponsors.



charlie white

I remember when Australian brand Foster’s were a F1 sponsor in the 1990’s. Also, Houston-based COMPAQ computers were the title sponsor for Williams until the company was absorbed into HP and even Budweiser sponsored the team for a short time in early 2000’s. On a related topic, isn’t Anhauser-Busch now owned by a Belgian company now?

Junipero Mariano

I think the question is, do companies like Google and Apple need F1’s marketing reach or does F1 need theirs? I, for one, use Apple and Google products several times an hour or more. Maybe Formula One should knock on the doors of tech companies with deep pockets but little awareness from the race going public. Cisco or Seagate perhaps?


If we’re not going to have tobacco sponsors, I welcome the alcohol overlords. No, I don’t have a problem with a “think before you drive” statement sponsored by Heineken.


“I welcome the alcohol overlords”. Simpsons reference? I love it!

Daniel Johnson

It’s a sign of things to come. When you look at where auto racing gets its money it usually comes from places that have trouble advertising other places. That’s why we had the big tobacco money. The next big money advertiser has got to be soft drinks. I think we’re maybe 5-10 years away from some litigation that might limit advertising. Once that bubble burst you’re talking about extremely large companies with huge advertising budgets that have no where to spend (just like tobacco). Alcohol surprisingly, I don’t think has much to worry about in the immediate future.


Alcohol sponsors have been in F1 for a long time. If they are the death knell of the sport it has been ringing for decades.

jiji the cat

I wonder if they will sell the raikonnen tshirts in the hiekenen logo?


This is great news! And, also whimsically ironic, as the DRS zones will have green bottle beer signs as the International Paul marvels at the spiced up spectacle!


“F1 is the pinnacle of technology innovation in motorsport…”
I say that is absolute BS. Name one technology on a current F1 car that isn’t on a production street car.
F1 is a joke compared to what it used to be, an it is not a funny one. It’s a shame.


Carbon brakes? Aero? MGU-H? Seamless transmissions?
But yeah, most of the teeth are out: active suspension, ground effects, hi-revving engines, blown diffusers, etc. etc.

Dr T

I love my beer… probably more so than Charsley…

Hopefully we’ll see the boys on the winners dias chugging a Heinekin instead of wasting good champagne


Marketing is more and more about metrics and tergeting and less and less about brand image and awareness. Beverages is one of the few remaining products where the brand is everything. There’s really nothing to differentiate one beverage from another. It’s not like Coke is of a higher quality than Pepsi. There isn’t that much difference between Heineken, Budweiser and Corona, so they use brand marketing to influence point-of-sale decisions. F1 should be going after commodity products, not tech companies. Tobacco was the ultimate commodity product with deep pockets. Beverages is probably the closest now. Watches, clothing, restaurant chains, drinks…… Read more »


Alcohol and driving don’t go together, it’s a real shame for a top motorsport brand like F1 to make such a terribly bad example.

Oh well, money speaks louder than morals I guess, and the alcohol oligarchs have everyone’s balls in a vice…