Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Sponsor Watch: 2014 Russian & Japanese Grands Prix

2014 Russian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Russia’s ban on alcohol advertising forced three teams to make changes to their cars’ logos in Sochi.

Red Bull

The logos of Russian supermarket chain Dixy (ДИKCИ) featured on the front wings of the RB10s as well as on their race drivers’ overalls. It opened its first store in Moscow in 1999 and now has over 2,000.


Felipe Massa, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Russia’s advertising regulations meant all teams had to remove any alcohol branding. That meant Williams did not have their Martini logos, however the famous stripes were retained and the Martini name remained on its flanks.

The Williams livery also appears very differently in Codemasters’ official 2014 F1 game, released last week. The distinctive red stripe of the Martini logo has been changed to blue.

According to Codemasters : “Due to circumstances outside of our control we’ve had to use a modified livery for the game, just like Williams Martini Racing have to when competing in countries that prohibit the advertising of alcohol. We’re continuing to explore ways to address this in future releases.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Force India could not advertise vodka in Russia, and had to remove the Smirnoff logo from their rear wing, replacing it with Kingfisher.

The logos of whiskey company Royal Challenge also had to go, but the team cleverly replaced them with the logos of Indian cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore. Both are owned by Force India boss Vijay Mallya.


Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Suzuka, 2014

For the Japanese Grand Prix McLaren’s car featured a #GetIn message behind the front wheels, promoting a competition where the winners would get a tour of the McLaren Technology Centre.

In Sochi, McLaren replaced their Johnny Walker logo for SAP because of the advertising laws. The team continues to rearrange some of its usual logos from race to race.


Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

From Japan, Sauber have given their Mexican sponsor Claro more exposure, putting the logo on the car’s rear wing, which previously featured the team name. Also for Suzuka, they moved the NEC logos on their sidepods, which have been empty for most of the year.

In Russia they replaced their Cuervo Tequila logos with Cholula Sauce.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Toro Rosso also used their livery for social media purposes: ‘#Gotororosso’ appeared on the car’s airbox, promoting their Twitter hashtag.

Jules Bianchi

During the Russian Grand Prix all the drivers and teams showed their support for Jules Bianchi, who was seriously injured in a crash duringthe Japanese Grand Prix:

2014 Russian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2014 Russian Grand Prix articles

    Images © Red Bull/Getty, Williams/LAT, Sauber, McLaren/LAT, Force India

    38 comments on “Sponsor Watch: 2014 Russian & Japanese Grands Prix”

    1. it’s funny that out of all countries russia doesn’t allow alcohol advertising.

      1. Isn’t it? ;) Replacing Smirnoff with Kingifisher, that’s quite ironic.

        1. How is it Ironic, as seeing Russia played no part in the downing of that Air Craft. The Buk system was Ukrainian fired by Kiev separatists from a Ukrainian military base- Source , German Intelligence Services. The people of Iran are still waiting on that apology from the U.S after they downed Iran Air Flight 655…wouldn’t count my chickens though. Good day Mr Ironic.

          1. When making assertions such as that, it’s considered good practice to provide links to actual sources (as opposed to just mentioning the word “source”).

            If you don’t, it gives the distinct impression that you’re making things up.

          2. Paranoia check suggested. I was just referring to switching one alcohol brand, of strong Russian origin, with an Indian one, albeit thinly disguised.

            But if you see it this way… someone must have taught those ‘separatists’ how to fire the missile, how to remove the protection against hitting a civil aircraft. But those surely were little green creatures from Mars, right?

            1. @pehogarth

              It’s the same thing that the media always carry on about. “Russia had to train the separatists”. The answer is “National Service”. Some countries still do it. Ukraine ended theirs Oct 2013. So up until then the citizens have had military training which would include shooting down planes.

            2. ColdFly F1 (@)
              21st October 2014, 22:38

              haha, @pehogarth! I got it and most other people I am sure.
              Not sure why Liam @ believes you were talking about something totally different. It is almost like he knows more and you caught him out! ;-)

          3. As a dutch person I find your ignorance offensive, as an informed person who follows news from all over the world, instead of just Russian propaganda I find your lack of knowledge stunning.

            As stated by German intelligence after a thorough investigation, the plane WAS shot down by “rebels” (mostly consisting of mercenaries from ex-sovjet states with strong ties to the idea of a greater Russia) supported by Russian army regulars using a BUK missile launch system from deep withing ” rebel” held territory.

            As an F1 fan, I am sad that people who also love the same sport as me and my friends can be so oblivious in other matters.

            1. Exactly, it’s almost unbelievable that even with the Internet, some people still solely rely on the TV for news.

    2. The Blade Runner (@)
      21st October 2014, 16:04

      Isn’t Kingfisher an Indian brand of beer?

      1. @thebladerunner And also an airline, which is how they get to run those logos.

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          21st October 2014, 16:13


          Ahhh… Thanks Keith.

        2. @keithcollantine what is Marlboro, Mild Seven, West, Benson and Hedges and Gold Leaf waiting to create an airline?

          1. I would happily fly with Marlboro airlines if they painted all their aircraft that iconic red :)

            1. They also should have a smoking section! Remember those?

        3. @keithcollantine Kingfisher Airlines was shut down two years ago and the company does not even hold a valid licence, it is also been in debts and creditors are trying hard to make money from the firm which virtually does not exist. Mallaya also markets drinking water named after Kingfisher, to use it purely to promote the Beer – which is what you see on the logo of the car.

      2. Does FI actually have any real sponsors now? Aren’t they just companies owned\run by Vijay Mallya and Roy Sahara? Sauber’s direct sponsors are pretty scarce too.

        On the other hand, I’m curious as to whether Red Bull saw additional marketing value in Daniil Kvyat, given the addition of this Russian retail chain to their sponsor portfolio.

        1. Roshfams and Claro are real sponsors, however the biggest pie is that he is promoting his own brands via his team – which does not sound like a bad deal. Kingfisher is among world’s largest selling beer brand.

    3. Thanks for mentioning ДИKCИ! Tried to quickly figure it out myself but failed :)

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        21st October 2014, 22:40

        @andae23, you probably read it upside down ;-)

      2. @andae23 Letter by letter it is Dicsi.

    4. Did anyone else read the Toro Rosso hashtag always as “Go to Rorosso”?

    5. We started by banning cigarettes brands in F1 liveries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a smoker and I quite support the idea of healthy living :) but now some legislations prohibits advertising to alcohol, so next step is to ban advertising to cancerous products like Cola or Pepsi and soon we’ll run out of financially strong brands… no wonder that F1 teams ar in a sponsor crisis.

      1. Tesco McLaren-Honda?

        Actually, the Tesco ‘finest’ range has broadly the same colour scheme as the current McLaren, maybe that IS they’re new title sponsor we’ve been waiting for?

        1. *their new title sponsor. Sorry, brain hasn’t been in gear the last few days..

        2. Tesco are the title sponsor of Triple Eight in the BTCC. They’re currently using it to push their Clubcard Fuel Save brand.

    6. Well played by Force India.

    7. I’ve been thinking…why cant F1 team use LED screens for sponsorship space on the cars? Just like how the sponsor boards have evolved in football stadia, why not plonk streamlined LED screens on cars? You would be able to get a lot more sponsors onboard…which means the sponsors inventment can be reduced, but you get higher investment due to quantity.

      With the current technology in LED displays, there are so many light weight flexible solutions. Sure, the ultimate weight of the car might increase, but for teams like Marussia, Caterham and Sauber, who are scrapping the barrell for sponsors..cant this be an option?

      Are there any rules prohibiting this type of bulk sponsorship?

      1. I’d say weight and probably safety how would they perform in crashes, oh and powering them… Got to drain the batteries even if it’s only 0.0001s per race its lost performance and added wiring that the teams could probably do without

      2. @jaymenon10 Whilst technically almost impossible, it would also be very hard to make the advertising visible to both the cameras and the human eye.

        1. @peartree why is it technically impossible? Nothing is technically impossible, its a question of how much money you want to invest to develop technology. Sure, at this point in time, there may not be something available off the shelf, but I suspect this type advertising could very well be possible it a few years.

          Why cant it be visible to cameras and the human eye? Works fine at football stadiums across the world.

          1. Hyung-Woo Jung
            22nd October 2014, 14:21

            I do not know whether it is possible or not, but the main difference between the ads in football stadiums and ones in race cars is that the former stays completely static while the other has to be installed on a fast moving object. Also, what about the cars’ liveries then? Given those, it is questionable whether teams will even want to install LED screens on the car’s bodywork even if they get the all clear from the FIA.

          2. @jaymenon10 Almost impossible… It’s simple eletronic banners would require eletricity would produce heat would affect aerodynamics and weight down the car, all things would damage performance. In the end you wouldn’t know if the camera would be able to pick em up or the human eye has those ads, something football hasn’t got to worry about as the ads are static relative to the eye.

            1. @peartree

              I think I know how to quit while I’m “ahead”..haha..

              I agree, its not feasible now…but I would keep an open a few years there may be technology that allows this.

      3. not meaning to be facetious, but when have you ever seen electronic billboards on fast-moving vehicles? I’d guess that the cars move way too fast to generate the attention-seeking effect they usually have next to Premier League matches, for example.

        I am however strongly in favour of more lighting on the cars – perhaps running lights, brake lights, ERS lights, position indicators like Le Mans etc. Just raise the weight limit and require standard lighting components

    8. Really liking these articles on sponsorship @keithcollantine . If you merged it as a sponsorship/livery update, it would be awesome.

      1. @jarnooo

        A gem of a series this sponsorship livery theme. Keep it up.

    9. I’m interested that since the start of the year, the raft of names on the Caterham have dwindled to just one name on the sidepod. What happened to GE and Airbus, and all those others?

    Comments are closed.