Those Santander trophies are rubbish – and probably break F1’s rules


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The rules say trophies should be 'traditional'. These don't look it to me

After the Italian Grand Prix Todd was unimpressed with the Santander logo trophies that were given to the drivers:

F1 trophies I would have thought would be a very special thing, usually events have a very well designed trophy to commemorate the victory, but now – and for the rest of his life – Sebastian Vettel has a logo to commemorate his first every victory in F1.

Thing is, according to the rules F1 trophies are supposed to be “traditional”. So should Santander logos be used as trophies?

On the Live Blog during the podium ceremony I posted this excerpt from the Appendix 4, article 4 of the sporting regulations (emphasis added):

The trophies, which must be in the form of traditional cups, will be provided by the ASN and must show:
a) the FIA Formula 1 World Championship official logo
b) the official name of the event
c) the driver’s position.

Are Santander logos “traditional cups”? Here’s Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt with their trophies at Monza two years ago:

Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt with their trophies at Monza in 2006

Monza wasn’t the first time we’ve seen these tacky Santander ‘trophies’ in 2008 either. They were handed out at the German Grand Prix as well.

Todd reckons:

What a way to ruin it. Not a trophy bathed in Monza history, a ******* logo from a company that will probably be bankrupt and shrouded in scandal by the time Vettel is retired and telling the story of the logo on his shelf to his kids.

Bernie has been too greedy there in my opinion.

And I have to say I agree with him.

Yesterday we were discussing how the FIA struggles to apply its ‘unwritten rules’ consistently. It’s hardly surprising when they can’t get the written rules right either.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Those Santander trophies are rubbish – and probably break F1’s rules”

  1. And they were handed out at Silverstone too don’t forget.

    F1 is so commercial (and has been for so long) that quite frankly this issue doesn’t overly worry me.

    When you have a car careering round the track looking like a a billboard, and drivers strapping their corporate watches on their wrist and slapping a bridgestone “winners” cap on their head then why not have coporate trophies.

    Whatever next? Perhaps the winning sponsor can play its corporate music instead of the national anthem

  2. John – were they? I remember after Silverstone the press was full of pictures of Hamilton kissing a big gold trophy.

  3. right so Shoemaker and Toads trophies are basically the Vodafone logo from top down as well…

    hideous, I never realised that one.

  4. I suppose this is today’s equivalent of the removal of the laurel wreath given to the victors.

  5. How about those silver steering wheels that are awarded after the Australian Grands Prix – would they have to go too, Keith?
    Give them their due, at least the Vodaphone trophy in your second picture is making a slight effort at being a cup, whereas the Santander “flame” is just a load of old tat. They could have made a “traditional” cup with two Santander logos as the handles… just my tuppence ha’penny (which is possibly what these cups cost to make in the first place).

  6. Keith, I think Silverstone had the good taste/fortune of allowing a real trophy to the winner, but the poor 2:nds and 3:rds got the Santander version.

  7. Yeah – that’s right second and third (and Ron Dennis) got the Santander trophies. Hamilton may also have recevied one as well as the gold cup …

  8. Those Santander trophies do look awful though.

    I do believe they were handed out at Silverstone too, but maybe just for the 2nd and 3rd place drivers?

    And the silver steering wheels are supposed to be replica’s of Jack Brabham’s steering wheel. I’d say that was well within the rules. I should think shields are just as valid as cups, much like the Wimbledon tennis trophy or the Charity Shield in English football.

  9. Hear, hear!

    Not only is it butt ugly, but we have to see it at every Santander Grand Prix. Even Bahrain’s trash basket is better!

    You should be able to look at a trophy; be it cup, plate or wheel and identify the event. Say for example, er, Bahrain’s trophy!

  10. Completely agree with John (post #1) – in the commercial, and part globalisation, world of F1 where every opportunity for a corporation to snug exposure is exploited, it’s not something too surprising (or worrying).

    And the drivers seem happy to have the trophies, I wonder whether or not they really care if it’s ugly or know it’s against the rules…they got theirs and it’s a symbol all the same….maybe let them know and they might say something?

  11. You realise that the next step will be purchasing naming rights to the tracks.

    Consider for a moment, Spa needs $10 Million quid for their place on the calender. They take the money and rename the track ‘Circuit de Santander’. instead of Albert Park, we will race at ING park. And so forth. It has been happening in Football for years and will creep into our sport as well.

    Trophies are rubbish, agree with you all.

  12. I hate them. The Abbey/Santander logo looks like a steaming pile of poo (it does!)

    Also, I don’t know if anyone can find footage of when Heidfeld received his trophy for coming second at the British GP this year? His face was a picture when he was pointing to Hamilton about the differences between the two trophies (Hamilton received a more traditional one on the podium).

  13. “You realise that the next step will be purchasing naming rights to the track.”

    Too late… we’ve already had A1-Ring in Austria, formerly known as Österreichring.

    I agree with what all of you have said, it has gone a step too far.

  14. Terry , I’m surprised they Santander haven’t done something clever at Silverstone with the Abbey chicane and perhaps buy up advertising space there.

    Yes , these “employee of the month” trophies are a step too far really – why can’t they do something like the old Silver Moet champagne and brand that instead?

  15. That’s nothing. Have you ever seen a Nascar winner’s circle? They place all the sponsors’ products on top of the car. The driver climbs out amid bottles of soft drinks, razors, bags of potato chips, cans of motor oil and God knows what else. It’s horrible.

  16. Tengil – that’s a good point about the A1-Ring, I’d forgotten about that. Doesn’t A1 make tarmac or something?

    Francois – “employee of the month” is spot on and I’ll be referring to them as such from now on!

    Singtel are sponsoring the next Grand Prix – will the trophy be a big mobile ‘phone?

  17. I’m not really sure I understand the problem here. F1 is a commercial sport. The teams hare named after companies. There are logos all over the drivers overalls and car. The tracks are filled with advertising sign (sometimes taking up a good 20% of the TV picture during the broadcasts). Even the events are named after the main sponsor. If it wasn’t for those companies, there would be no new fancy tracks. It is not uncommon for ice hockey arenas or football stadiums to be named after a main sponsor, so I think it will eventually trickle down even to motor sport. And I don’t really see how the shape of the trophy is such a big deal. I’m not even sure the drivers themselves care that much about how the trophy looks. And ten years from now, nobody will not even recognize the trophy as a logo any more…

  18. Keith , A1 I think are an Austrian mobile phone company just like Singtel who sponsor the Singapore GP.

  19. Spot on Keith, Todd is right. The trophies should represent the country/history of the event, Vettel will be delighted telling his kids/grand kids about that first (of which i think will be many) win and the trophy but it hardly looks Italian does it…i mean the picture with Schuey and Jean Todt shows trophies that look different.

    With Santander sponsoring the British and German GP’s as well this season, it just dosn’t seem right does it. Why cant all countires be like Hungary which hand out very traditional trophies…

  20. I think Emilio Botín has gone too far with this.

    The original idea will have been to link the logo to a high standard Trophy, but I’m afraid the result is different: The logo is devaluating those events in wich it’s used as a trophy!

    I’m pretty sure none of those drivers that have rised the trophy are oppening an account in BANIF (Private Banking division of Banco Santander)

    What next?

    During the press conference, the drivers will have to start their declarations saying something like: “I’m very proud of having the opportunity of racing in this great Grand Prix, thanks to Banco Santander, my bank, your bank everybody’s bank”


  21. I’ve been beaten to the steering wheel trophy point, so I’ll chime in to agree with ade. I love the steering wheel trophies, I quite liked the smoked glass circuit-shaped valencia trophies, and one race (don’t know which) has some plate-style trophies, again preferable to a traditional cup.

    So, the rule is almost as rubbish as the employee of the month trophies, and I’m all in favour of it being ignored to give us the interesting, distinct trophies we sometimes see…

    Maybe instead of campaigning for the FIA to follow the trophy rules to the letter, we’d be better trying to get them changed simply to ban all commercially sponsored trophies. Its bad enough having to watch some CEO present the thing, which is now next on my list!

  22. i seem to recall more than a few trophies looking like anything but a traditional cup. i don’t actually have a problem with the different host companies trying to out-design each other on the trophy front, it sort of makes the trophy a bit more special. but i do agree a line should be drawn at a corporate logo actually being the trophy. i doubt any of the drivers or teams actually give a rat’s patootie as long as they get any trophy but really, with some of the wing and wheel designs going on in f1 these days, asthetics should be encouraged where possible. s.

  23. These trophies are ugly and they just not suit with racing atmosphere .It is really sad to imagine Vettel staring his first 1st place Trophy while this is looking just rubish

  24. Yeah I don’t think it should really be a ‘cup’ only, like australia has the wheel, and malaysia has a dish i think, and bahrain has something else i think too…

    but there’s been 3 – 4 events this year that have been santander logos, it doesn’t really need to be a logo since the entire wall in the background is plastered with the santander logo anyway. and all around the track, we get it. we know your logo.

    I just think the trophy should be something to commerate a victory, not plug a sponsor.

    what if Enron was a sponsor and we had Enron trophys. would you really want that on your trophy cabinet?

    The vodafone trophy doesnt even look like a vodafone logo, until you really move it around and look at it, it’s not a blatant logo, so hats off to them for doing a cup and adding some style to it.

    not just a flat solid logo with no effort at all to abide by the rules or make it look good.

  25. @Terry Fabulous – yeah i don’t see any issues with naming rights for tracks and stadiums. it’s a good revenue builder for the event and doesn’t impact the event or the history of the event.

  26. @John Beamer – i have no problem with massive commercialism in f1, its a major part and needs to be.

    i’m a commercial whore myself.

    but the trophies are one of the few things that go down in history as a reminder of what happened.

    like check out some of the really good looking f1 trophies around
    i even have a mini malaysian f1 trophy i bought as a souvenir when i went to the f1 in malaysia. no way in the world i would have bought a logo to commemorate my visit.

  27. Why is a corporate logo any less historic or cultural than a cup shaped by some artist?

    Logos are commissioned by people with a vision. They are developed by people who spend their lives studying the visual and cultural impact of symbols. These companies affect the lives of millions of people across cultures, geographies and times (much more than any single country or event!). If anything a corporate logo bears a stronger mark of the times during which that logo was created.

    The suggestion that a driver’s memories of a win were diminished just because the corporate sponsor went down in a scandal is ridiculous. I am pretty sure the feeling of winning goes deeper than that! Unless the trophy is an absolute masterpiece, rarely will anyone care about how its shaped, especially a couple of years later.

    I think this is just another instance of irrational corporate hatred. They are made up of people like you and me and I don’t understand why the material manifestation of the hopes and dreams of millions of people is an inappropriate memento.

  28. Shashi – interesting argument. My objection to the Santander thing is it looks rubbish.

    The ’06 Monza trophies, if they were actually designed to look like the Vodafone logo (I can sort of see it), are at least subtly done and attractive.

    But the Santander ones are cynical, and having the same trophy for different trophies is especially poor.

  29. I actually prefer trophies that veer away from the traditional cup, although I agree that the ones at Monza are underwhelming. It is not so much the flame logo because apart from the tarmac on the road, what isn’t logo-branded in F1 these days? Give Bernie enough time & that black space will be covered too, the same way football fields are.

    Still, have been a sportsperson (swimmer) at a high level, the trophies, ribbons, medals are all nice to receive but for me, as cliche as it sounds, it is the memories. Plus the more you win, the more high maintenance you have to find room for them and dust or polish them :) So small trophies can be good trophies.

  30. Shashi,

    When you have the trophy of all circuits looking exactly the same, then imagine a driver like Schumacher with 91 GP wins(if I’m correct), then imagine his, trophy shelve. How does he know what race he worn, without reading the inscription. And why also would one bother putting up the exact same thing from display.

  31. I agree with most people dislike of the Santander trophy – it does look terrible and not very ‘award-like’. But flipping the coin on the traditional point, I like the Australian Steering Wheel one. And to be fair, I think it’s been handed out in that form since 1996 when Melbourne forst took over the race. So arguably the rules have been broken for over ten years now. If FOM or FIA haven’t noticed yet (or bothered to care), it isn’t really likely they’re gonna start now!

  32. @Shashi – i’m a consumer whore and i love capitalism.

    GO! big corporations…

    however, a trophy is a trophy, not a logo.

    these trophies are the kind of things that get auctioned off in 50 years after a great driver has died or something..

    can you imagine bidding on and winning one of Senna’s trophies if it was a basic logo – like keith said, if it actually had some design to it, it’ll be great, like the vodafone one, but the santander one just looks horrible and a blatant marketing tactic.

    f1 is all about branding and companies. the battle between Ferrari and Mclaren Mercedes is as much about the brand as it is the car, but come on, make a trophy at least look like a trophy.

  33. Todd – yeah I saw that on F1 Live and had a look for that other write-up, but it doesn’t mention the rules thing.

    As far as the “traditional cups” thing goes I think “traditional” is the important bit, rather than “cups”. I like the Australian Grand Prix steering wheel too. Isn’t it modelled on Jack Brabham’s wheel from ’59 or something?

  34. Another blog reminded me of Donington ’93, look at 8:20 in this vid:

    At least Senna got a regular trophy besides the Sonic the Hedgehog one :)

  35. SuperKarateMonkeyDeathCar
    17th September 2008, 16:27

    Have you ever seen the trophy for winning the NASCAR race at Martinsville?
    A driver always remembers where they won that one.

  36. Dan wrote:
    “I hate them. The Abbey/Santander logo looks like a steaming pile of poo (it does!)”

    Haha. And i thought i was the only one who sees the steaming poo pile :)

  37. If Max has his way all the trophies will be exactlly the same!

  38. Strapping a corporate watch is something unbelievable. Innocent people may thing that he is fast driver and always want to have the perfect time (It seemed to me something like that at the firsts times I saw the strapping ritual).

    The worst thing about Santander trophy is that is simply ugly.

    When appeared the Gold Leaf Lotus 72 was the nicest formula 1 with that read, white and Gold leaf colors. There after one may kill for those John Players sticks.

  39. Tengil: “At least Senna got a regular trophy besides the Sonic the Hedgehog one :)”

    But, come on, lets be honest, who wouldn’t want a huge gold Sonic trophy? I’d love me one of them!

  40. I think this represents what can only be thought of as the bad side of F1 commercialisation.

    I’m not against sponors, in fact I’m happy they’re putting their money into the sport.

    It’s the lack of imagination that bothers me because it just ends up looking ugly and/or silly whereas when it’s done well it becomes loveable & timeless.

    The Marlboro branded McLaren, the JPS branded Lotus & the Camel branded Williams are some of my favourite cars and the corporate branding added to the beuty of the cars.

    I also liked the Vodafone trophy, it looks like a traditional cup unless you look at it from above.
    It shows a degree of effort & respect for the sport & isn’t just a quick cash in.

    The Santander trophies are sadly rubbish & I hope Vettel is given something nice from the team to remember the race by.

    Would it have been so hard for Santander to get a proper designer to design something memorable & unique that would make them stand out from the crowd ?

    Giving the same trophies for different races should never be allowed, that’s just obvious.

    I suppose this has given Santander what they wanted though, loads of people talking about them.

  41. was it david coulthard who killed sonic?

  42. Agree with the majority here, the trophy looks rubbish. For me it’s not so much about the rules being broken (I didn’t even know they existed!), but more about the history and identity of the Grand Prix. Every race should have it’s own trophy, and it shouldn’t change significantly from year to year.

    And if they really have to change the rophies, at least keep the victor’s trophy the same, like at Silverstone. I was appaled to see Hamilton being given the Santander logo at Hockenheim, instead of the traditional trophy (

  43. So why doesn’t get the FIA clarify the rule. Why have the FIA just stood back? I don’t understand.

  44. First off, I’m very happy to see that I wasen’t the only one who noticed- and was not pleased by- the Santander logos as the trophies for several of the most recent GPs. I have no problem with corporate sponsorship in F1- It’s prevalaent in many other sports around the world, in many different forms- but to throw away the traidtional trophies and award something corporate-based is a bunch of rubbish IMHO.

    Second, if any of you think the title sponsor should be allowed to have their logo as the trophy design because they pay a boatload of money to sponsor the event, don’t forget that- just at the podium ceremony alone- they get….
    – Their corporate logo all over the backdrop, as well as their name of that official sign directly behind the drivers on the podium.
    -One or more of their corporate bigwigs handing out the trophies
    – their name on the microphone stand in the post-race press confernece, as well as in Peter Windsor’s official introduction to the confernece.
    In my book, that’s plenty enough- leave the trophies alone and stick the sponsorship to better use.

    Third, I know many of you- for various resons- like to rip on Indianapolis as a GP host, but if you take a look at their trophy- with the globe on top of the pillar- I think it was one of the best designs in recent F1 history. Along with it I really like the Melbourne steering wheel, Hungary’s golden pottery, and the glass/crystal vase in Canada. All of these show that trophies don’t need to be in the shape of cups per se, but should be non-corporate and give the event a taste of history and culture unique to that nation and venue.

    Lastly, while I would never seriously want the Sonic trophy on my podium if I was a race official, I did crack up at the sight of it on that video- I was amused as well to see the SEGA livelry all over the start/finish straight in a recent issue of F1 Racing. Having grown up playing Sonic games, it gave me quite a laugh!

  45. Good find Tengil.
    I’d forgotten all about that Sonic trophy, quality bit of cheese but at least Senna got a real trophy too.

    Is it just me or did Ron look about 15 years older then than he does now ?

  46. I just watched the Donington ’93 video (–and Brazilian TV was using that cheeesy music even back then! First heard it linked from another post, with Felipe’s victory lap in Brazil 2006 (

  47. they look so cheap and nasty – they don’t even reflect well on the bank and they significantly diminish the sport – a bit more soul eroded for Bernie’s benefit.

    He is so out of touch with his audience now. No game for 3 years is insane, soulless school trophies is insane, personality free drivers is insane when you are up against motoGP and x sports

  48. i meant to say that speaking as a designer – the logo is really low grade anyway, says nothing and has no value.

  49. I don’t know what series it is but,here in the States there is a race(I am sure it is in Tennessee)where the trophies are actual Gibson Les Paul electric guitars painted to commemorate the race.Beautiful….and usefull if you know a couple of chords.

  50. Wesley, that’s in… well, NASCAR (which shows how out of touch F1 can be). I think that’s for the Chevy Rock and Roll 500 at Memphis.

  51. I agree with all of you 100%. Its just another example of how the sport is being eroded away in the interests of big business. My argument is that the sponsors, of which there are many, get plenty of opportunity to advertise their products during a grands prix weekend.
    Billboards, painted grass, driver uniforms, even the cars themselves, have for years been ablaze with the logos of famous sponsors. But to have the trophy in the logo of a sponsor, thats crossing the line?
    I always have to laugh watching the races in America, at NASCAR for example, when the winning driver gets a nice icecold Coca Cola thrust into his hands before the interviews start. Before thanking the team for providing him with a winning car, he reels off all of his sponsors first, just to give them one more piece of publicity. It is a perfect example of the world we live in, and for me, unnecessary.
    They have four hours, in which the cars, logo emblazened, get to perform infront of millions of fans, and if that is not long enough to advertise their products, then that is just too bad. F1 is becoming the same, to some extent worse, for allowing this to happen.
    There is a time and place for everything, but what these people must realise, in all forms of motorsport, is that the fans come because of the motor racing, not because they are interested in getting insurance from AIG or a mobile phone from Vodafone. We all appreciate your money guys, but give it a rest and fast please!

    Jean Todt, for probably the first time ever in my life, I agree with you…

  52. I think that the killer line and defining point is :

    “The trophies, which must be in the form of traditional cups”

    Cup – I believe it is something that will hold liquid. So if it can’t hold ooooh, say a couple of litres of winning Champagne, it ain’t a cup in my opinion. Drinking the stuff (which I personally don’t like, but needs must) always tastes better in something that you have won.

    Most disappointing moment of my life – winning our class in my sailing boat and being presented with a silver dish ! Champagne content – < 10ml We ate peanuts off it instead.

    If I’d had a hammer I would have had a stab at turning the thing into a bowl……….

  53. @MrPippy hahah Yeah isn’t it awesome! it reminds me of japanese tv shows!

  54. ‘Jean Todt, for probably the first time ever in my life, I agree with you…’

    Erm… you must be agreeing with the guy named Todd, not Todt. :)

  55. Alianora La Canta
    18th September 2008, 11:37

    What is the point of the FIA legislating trophy types and then not maintaining the rule? Admittedly, circuits can apply for exemptions to any rule they see fit and the FIA is permitted to grant or reject them as it sees fit. That’s how they get away with having alcohol-free Bahrain on the calender – because Bahrain applied for and got an exemption on condition that they supplied a non-alcoholic drink with similar visual properties. I assume this is also how Australia gets away with handing out steering wheel replicas instead of cups.

    However, the FIA should note that it has the rules in place for a reason and reject the proliferation of these sponsor “cups”. It wouldn’t bother me so much if each sponsor only did it for one race, but this is the third time Santander’s done it (Britain and Germany also had the same trophies). At least if it was only one race, it would identify the race it was given out, but handing out identical trophies for three races makes the achievements look indistinguishable from each other. They shouldn’t be.

    There’s a good reason why the FIA regulates trophies. It needs to start doing so right away, by insisting that all trophies are at least distinct from one another, even if it can’t be bothered to enforce the letter of the regulations.

  56. I agree with all of you 100% too.

  57. Keith – the golden winners trophy at the british grand prix is handed out on the podium but must be returned at the end of the podium ceremony – i think its the same one they use every year. The winner then gets a bog standard santander trophy for keeping.

  58. Chris – Perhaps that’s how these things will work in the future. Pity.

  59. Just today, ITV have picked up on this one with their Gravel Trap feature

  60. I think the trophies are pretty cool :P Yeah, they may be corporate, but I still think they’re worthy of the job.

  61. The guitar trophy is used in many race tracks in the States:

    Richmond – Chevy Rock & Roll 400

    But the guitar trophy is most recognised with Nashville and its “Music City USA” image. Many big races in that area offer a Gibson Les Paul guitar.

    The “Heavyweight Championship Belt” as Las Vegas is also very symbolic of its Fight Capital of the World image.

    But yes, Martinsville is the King of the Motorsport Trophies. Who would want to win a longcase clock? It violates Bernie’s rules, but that clock, when first given away 45 years ago, symbolised the region’s furniture market. This clock is regarded as the trophy in motorsport everyone wants to win.

    Just imagine if Bruton Smith gets Las Vegas Motor Speedway to build a strong F1 track or utilise The Strip for one. Imagine Bernie not happy when Bruton gives the runners-up trophies that fit the tradition, and the winner just a Championship Belt.

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