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Formula One: what’s next?

5 décembre 2012

Sports are constantly evolving, whether with the arrival of new technologies, new territories, new sponsors, or others, and all aiming to enrich the fan experience. In the past weeks, Formula One (@Formula1) has made many of the headlines. Let’s focus on some of the changes that were announced recently for the next season and which will impact the Formula One landscape in the year to come.

There is no doubt that sponsors are a part of the F1 story, with more and more long-term partnerships between brands and teams. Last week, Coca Cola (@CocaColaCo) announced they will enter F1 with its burn(@burn) energy drink brand after announcing a deal with Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus team (@Lotus_F1Team). Emmanuel Seuge (@ManuSeuge), Director of worldwide sports and entertainment marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, who spoke at the Global Sports Forum 2012, stated that this new partnership will “mix art and music in a way that will break the conventions of traditional Formula One sponsorship marketing”. Moreover, Infiniti, the Japanese automotive brand has extended its partnership with Red Bull Racing through 2016, and will become a title sponsor of the team.

Circuits have flowered in new territories such as Bahrein, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, India, and South Korea for the past ten years. In 2000, there were only 17 Grand Prix ; 14 of them were hosted in western Europe / US / Australia / Japan and only two in Brazil and Malaysia. In 2013, there will be 19 races including 11 in Europe / America / Japan, and eight in Asia and Middle-East. Furthermore, we see that the US is a strategic country for F1 development. For example, there will be a new circuit in Austin (check out a 3D circuit preview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqc3Y4ws1bI) and two races in 2014 with the addition of a grand prix in New Jersey, originally postponed in 2013 when local organisers said they would not be ready in time. Bernie Ecclestone, F1 big boss, mentioned there could be three circuits by 2015 including a possibility in Los Angeles. Across the Atlantic, it’s quite a different story: there will be no F1 Grand Prix in France next year as no French organizations put forth any official proposal nor met the deadline to apply to the FIA. A provisional 2013 F1 schedule has been released (http://www.formula1.com/races/calendar_preview.html) and will be fully ratified during the FIA’s World Council meeting this week in Istanbul.

On the driver’s side, Sebastian Vettel (@officialvettel), the German born driver for team Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing), won his third consecutive ‘World Drivers’ championship’ title at the Brazilian Grand Prix last week. At 25, he became the youngest triple champion in the history of the Formula One – the average age is 28.75 years old. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher (@realschumacher), the seven-time world champion announced its retirement at 43: the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix will also be remembered as his last and final race after a three-season comeback. To know more about the ‘age’ issue in F1, you should be reading the following article: http://schuvettelainen.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/f1-drivers-the-age-issue

From one season to another, innovation is part of the race and remains a key priority. The kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and the drag reduction system (DRS), are some of the latest new technologies – see more details on http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20496330. The former could also play a role in helping F1 improve its environmental credentials, which remains an important challenge for the sport in the coming years. Gianluca Pisanello, Formula One Race Engineer at Lotus Racing, explained that « Formula 1 doesn’t like to innovate – it has to innovate. F1 is continuously innovating because of a need to try and beat the others ».

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