If you spent $3-25 million for the honor of hosting a formula 1 race, you’d think you would do all you can to promote that race in order to get a decent return on investment but therein may be the problem in that spending $20 million may be about all you can afford for a race and the idea of finding another $1-5 million to promote it just isn’t in the budget.
Regardless, on the heels of the Italian Grand Prix, F1 commercial boss, Sean Bratches, says there are only four or five promoters doing a decent job of it in F1 at the moment.
“I think there’s some inherent wind behind our sails in Monza,” said Bratches.
“But our intention is to create an overlay for our promoters, to help them activate.
“By definition a promoter should be promoting, and I think we have to encourage more of that.
“We have 20 promoters, but only four or five are truly promoters – the rest are car enthusiast groups or governments.
“We’re trying to bring everybody up to a standard, and Monza is something that should be looked at in a favourable light.”
Bratches said Monza had been able to tap into something special with its partisan crowd and that created a memorable grand prix.
“I think the passion and emotion and energy and excitement amongst this fanbase was captivating,” he said.
“It was very contagious, and I had a wonderful grand prix, not only on a business level, but on a personal level.
“Going into the fan zone and watching everyone excited was really from my perspective very gratifying.”
While I agree that the scene in Monza was atypical of an Italian Grand Prix, this may be Sean’s first rodeo there but it isn’t ours. I’m glad he had a great time and was awed by the sight but it isn’t anything new to veteran F1 fans. Ferrari and Italy are one. When I went to Maranello with Shell V-Power, I discovered that first hand.
The Italian race is as driven by Ferrari and Italian passion as it is promoted for success. The recent Belgian Grand Prix has had an upswing of attendance and surely the mob of orange shirts hints at what that might be, right?
The British is loaded with fans and there could be a case to be made that the BRDC isn’t promoting the heck out of that race but still, throngs of fans show up with shirts, hats and flags bearing the number “44”. I think we know why attendance is strong there.
My point is that F1 promoters should do more to promote the races. I’ve said that for years now but F1 has a much bigger role in that process than alluded to in this article. Magnetic driver personalities, exciting and competitive racing between teams and iconic circuits with decent easement are all part of the formula for a successful grand prix weekend. There is also the lean years when the title was decide early making the remaining race a bit of a ho-hum affair. That’s contextual impact that can’t be predicted.
I am not disagreeing with Sean on his comments but “bringing everyone up to standard” should include bringing F1 itself up to standard and capitalizing on the heroes and stars he has in his arsenal. I’ve argued for a long time that F1 doesn’t market itself and that it should. The promotion of a race is a partnership and hopefully Sean can do a much better job of making a promoters job a heck of a lot easier by producing market activations and content that compliment a promoters investment.
Hat Tip: Autosport