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GP Week : Issue 24
Advertising Feature Partnering the Challenge Sponsorship in Formula 1 WITHOUT sponsors, Formula 1 would look very different, not only in terms of the added resources they bring to associate themselves with motorsport’s elite series, but also when it comes to the technology at the heart of the sport. It is easy to assume a Formula 1 sponsorship deal starts and ends with a sticker on the car or a patch on a driver’s overall, but there is much more to a successful partnership. Patrick Wendt, Manager Marketing & Sponsoring at Panasonic Toyota Racing, explains: “The benefits of a sponsorship in Formula 1 go far beyond the TV exposure generated in over 180 countries around the world. Where else can companies align themselves with one of the most powerful global sports brands as well as a top global industry brand at the same time? “Almost 65 million people around the globe drive a Toyota today and many of these are followers of Formula 1, supporting our team. A unique opportunity for team partners to make our customers theirs too.” Formula 1 reaches almost 3 billion viewers and over 3.5 million people at the race track every season, making it an immediate attraction to companies wanting to raise their brand profile or drive business objectives on a global level. But as well as having numbers which appeal to the head, it also has emotions to appeal to the heart. The attraction of Formula 1, of course, is in seeing the action live, and team partners have the chance to deliver ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences to their guests. Panasonic Toyota Racing is one team that makes sure partners benefit from the unique possibilities that this platform has to offer. Exclusive hospitality at the race or test track is combined with driver ‘meet and greets’, access to the pit garage during practice and qualifying sessions, or garage tours to see what really goes on behind the scenes. These exclusive offers are not available to the general public and make for an unforgettable experience. Panasonic Toyota Racing focuses on not only building relationships but also offering partners a comprehensive marketing toolbox that allows them to customize their promotional activities according to their specific requirements. Furthermore, it is unique to Panasonic Toyota Racing’s partners that they benefit from the willingness of the entire global Toyota family to include all team sponsors in co-marketing or joint activities revolving around Formula 1. Panasonic Toyota Racing strives to excel in every area of Formula 1 and that extends to all aspects of the team, including partnerships. Although it is now only in its seventh Formula 1 season, the team has an average sponsorship length of 5.3 seasons. The average length of all teams in the sport is calculated around 4.5 seasons, putting Panasonic Toyota Racing just behind McLaren and Ferrari who have been in Formula 1 for many years. Formula 1 is the largest annual sports series in the world and truly global, but at the same time local, with 18 races across 16 countries. It is as challenging, therefore, to reap the full marketing and business benefits as it is to win the Championship. Patrick Wendt concludes: “We therefore understand our role as a consultant to our team partners, helping them to maximise the impact of their partnership with the team and Toyota. Our partners are an important element in our endeavours to make our dream a reality.”