Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

Sponsor Watch: 2014 US and Brazilian Grands Prix

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Lotus acquired a new name on their car for the United States Grand Prix while McLaren had a surprising new treatment for one of their sponsor’s logos.

However more questions are being raised over the appropriateness of alcohol advertising on racing cars, which could spell trouble for the “official whisky of Formula One”.


Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Interlagos, 2014Lotus acquired a new sponsor in Endless Jewelry. The logo appeared on the airbox and on top of the sidepods of the car in the United States (above).

The airbox, which had previously featured the driver’s names, then bore EMC branding in Brazil (right). In Abu Dhabi Hisense will return to the airbox, its third appearance on the car, having been on the sidepods in Austin.

There was also a ‘#Margerie’ tribute on Romain Grosjean’s car only, remembering Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, who had died in an airplane incident in October.

Grosjean, who also had tribute stickers on his helmet, said, “He was one of those men that you meet very rarely in a lifetime. I knew him for many years and he believed in me and helped me to achieve my motorsport dream. It was such a tragic accident and my thoughts are with his family, as well as the families of the other victims of the plane crash.”


Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

McLaren went from the regular SAP logo to a larger, brighter, angled and funky design, both on the sidepods and on top of the cockpit.


Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Interlagos, 2014

Sauber have recently started to put their sidepod space to good use after keeping it empty for most of the year. This time they gave the extra exposure to Interproteccion (in the United States) and Cuervo Tequila (in Brazil).

With the team’s recent announcement of 2015 drivers not involving Esteban Gutierrez, companies Jose Cuervo, Interproteccion and the three owned by America Movil (Claro, Telmex and Telcel) could follow the Mexican out of Sauber at the end of the year.


Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2014

In Interlagos, the team’s usual Experian logos were changed to Serasa Experian, promoting the Brazilian credit bureau.

Williams also paid tribute to John Burridge, a team member that had passed away, by putting his first name on the rear wings:

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2014

A potentially significant change for Force India at the Brazilian Grand Prix was the presence of Claro logos on their car’s sidepods in place of Sahara. These have previously been seen on the Saubers.

Claro is a telecommunications brand which is part of the America Movil company, which is run by Carlos Slim and based in Mexico City. The same group also includes Telmex, which backed Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez’s careers via the Escuderia Telmex.

However with Gutierrez having lost his seat at Sauber for next season, Perez is the only Mexican driver remaining in the field ahead of next year’s return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which may explain Claro’s switch.

Kingfisher also had an increased presence, appearing on the outside of the headrests.

Threat to alcohol sponsorship in F1

Bernie Ecclestone, Mika Hakkinen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2014The threat of a ban on alcohol advertising in Formula One has the potential to make matters worse amid the financial problems that are affecting many teams.

Four teams promote alcohol brands on their cars. Williams have a new title sponsor in Martini this year. Force India’s cars advertise brands from owner Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries, as well as Smirnoff, which the company is linked to through British beverage company Diageo. Sauber advertise Jose Cuervo’s tequila brand.

McLaren are sponsored by Johnnie Walker, which has also recently concluded a deal with Formula One Management. However at a time when greater focus is being put on the European Union’s restriction on advertising alcohol by associating it with driving, its endorsement as “the official whisky of Formula One” may become an obvious target for criticism.

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    Image © Force India, Lotus/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Williams/LAT, Singapore GP/Sutton

    12 comments on “Sponsor Watch: 2014 US and Brazilian Grands Prix”

    1. Funny, the article talks about Sauber and Force India sponsors and I get a Telmex advert here on the page haha
      By the way I love Mika’s belt buckle :)

      1. Speaking of Force India sponsors, why is the name ‘Kingfisher’ even on the car? VJ’s airline is bust, employees haven’t been paid for months, leasing companies have been trying to repossess aircraft only to find them stripped and unflyable, VJ has been declared a defaulter by Indian banks, his partner is in prison trying to raise more than a billion (yes, billion) dollars to repay ripped off investors …………. Kingfisher is a sponsor?!!!!!!!! Force India just want to fill the space, they’re not getting any money for the signage.

        1. Kingfisher is (also) a beer brand.
          different company – (partially) same owner.

          1. The only reason Mallaya bought into F1 was to advertise his alcohol brands. Kingfisher is a big beer brand in India, and Royal Challenge is likewise in the whiskey department. Advertsing alcohol is banned in India.

            So, if Alcohol advertising is on the verge of being do the math. Vijay will be pulling out his cash even before you could say Force India.

    2. However at a time when greater focus is being put on the European Union’s restriction on advertising alcohol by associating it with driving, its endorsement as “the official whisky of Formula One” may become an obvious target for criticism.

      Would this only take effect for races in EU countries, or would it mean they couldn’t show them on TV at all?

      1. I really think that there is a very good argument for distinguishing between racing on a track and driving on public roads as 2 totally different activities.

    3. In the USofA we have commercials for beer, wine, and alcohol of all sorts, even more so with the traditional holidays looming on the horizon. (Thanksgiving day, Christmas and New Years) So one should conclude that booze sponsors should be OK on the cars, helmets, driving suits, and whatever else they can put them on….. Thanks, Norris

      1. Yeah, and it’s not like anyone’s associating the alcohol with driving. I don’t even associate it with drinking, just with cool liveries.

    4. Well, I know that I for one have no will of my own and am compelled to drink whenever I see any alcohol advertisement, further, I am compelled to drink and drive when I see alcohol advertised on an F1 car. Thank you Nanny-State EU for saving me by banning such pernicious marketing.

    5. The Canal+ OnBoard for Brazil blurs the rear wing of the Force India, but they forgot to blur the Johnnie Walker on the bridge near the pit exit and start of the first DRS zone.

    6. The idea which bans alcohol advertising is very bad. They should allow these sponsors, otherwise the teams will not enough money in the future.

    7. The SAP logo change was because SAP redesigned their logo, and so McLaren seemingly obliged to make them principal sponsor in time with their brand launch, the blue one is dead…

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