Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Sponsor Watch: 2015 F1 car launches

2015 F1 season

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The build-up to a new season is traditionally when teams push out press releases revealing the details of their new ‘promotional partners’, ‘technical suppliers’ and even ‘official tailors’.

Whatever they call them, they all fall under the catch-all term ‘sponsors’. But while many cars have appeared with new logos on their flanks, there’s a troubling amount of bare carbon fibre on F1’s nine different machines.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, Pascal Wehrlein, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes W06 launch, 2015

Unsurprisingly several companies wished to be associated with the new world champions. Surely their biggest coup is the acquisition of Hugo Boss, who had been McLaren’s longest-running sponsor in a partnerships dating back 33 years to when Ron Dennis took over the team. The Puma logos are gone from the car.

Also new to Mercedes is Japanese electronics company Epson, who might have been expected to align themselves with McLaren given their new engine deal with Honda. Epson previously sponsored Lotus and Tyrrell when those teams had Honda power (see below).

A further new arrival to Mercedes is Qualcomm, an American company which specialises in wireless products. Qualcomm is also involved in Formula E where its wireless charging technology is being used on one of the course cars.

Swissquote logos have disappeared from the cars and the message of support to Michael Schumacher – ‘#KeepFightingMichael’ – was absent when the car was presented at Jerez. However it later reappeared having been moved from the cockpit sides to the car’s nose.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Whether Red Bull’s testing livery is a deliberate attempt to disguise their aerodynamic detail (in which case expect to see more of them) or a rush job because there wasn’t time to paint the RB11 before Jerez, in terms of logos there’s little difference to last year. Exness, a foreign exchange broker company, is the only new sponsor on the car.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Williams FW37, Jerez

Having leapt from ninth to third in the constructors’ championship last year Williams has successfully grabbed a few new sponsors, mostly from rivals Lotus.

Unilever’s deodorant brand Rexona (known as Sure in the UK) is a major acquisition, and is Williams’ first sponsor to take the prominent spot on the car’s sidepods since Phillips in 2009. Business technology firm Avanade, a Lotus sponsor until 2013, also has its logos on the FW37.

A further addition is Hackett London, the team’s new clothing partner. Alpinestars supplies its race gear. Williams also extended its partnership with HR firm Randstad at the end of last season, and 2015 marks their tenth year together.

The Banco do Brasil logos have disappeared from the Williams car as former third driver Felipe Nasr has left for Sauber. Experian is also gone from the car.

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

Last year there were reports some Strategy Group teams who enjoy major financial benefits from Formula One Management, of which Ferrari is the foremost, were able to lure sponsors from non-Strategy Group teams by offering them less expensive deals.

Ferrari SF-15T rear, 2015Given that, it’s interesting to note the appearance of Telcel logos on the endplates of the new Ferrari. The America Movil company had previously backed Esteban Gutierrez while he was at Sauber, and having lost his race seat Gutierrez is now a test driver at Ferrari.

Another interesting new arrival on the SF-15T is Alfa Romeo. This was last seen in F1 30 years ago when the company which won the first world championship endured a miserable final season as a constructor.

Alfa Romeo, like Ferrari, is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, although FCA is selling part of its stake in Ferrari. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has high hopes for Alfa Romeo, which he wishes to turn into an Italian rival to BMW, which probably explains its elevated presence.

The ‘#ForzaJules’ message in support of the injured Jules Bianchi, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, does not appear on the new car. It is not on other teams’ cars either.

McLaren

McLaren MP4-30, 2015

McLaren have added two major brands in media giant CNN International and KPMG, which is one of the ‘big four’ auditors. But note how modest their branding is on the Honda-powered MP4-30.

This is likely a consequence of McLaren chairman Ron Dennis’s refusal to compromise on his team’s rate card, even given their recent lack of success (two winless years and seven seasons without a title) and the weak economy. Meanwhile the likes of Hugo Boss have defected to rivals Mercedes, which must have hurt.

With the team changing engine suppliers, there is now Honda branding where Mercedes logos once were. But there is still no sign of the new title sponsor which was promised two years ago.

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso STR10

In terms of names on the car, the new Toro Rosso is virtually the same as last year’s.

The team’s most significant addition is alcohol-free beer brand Estrella Galicia 0,0, whose logo now appears on the drivers’ overalls. Appropriately, one of those drivers is set to become F1’s youngest ever racer. Max Verstappen will be under the legal minimum drinking age in many of the countries he visits this year.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

There are still a number of logos filling the E23’s livery, but Lotus has several after a very bad season. Rexona has jumped to Williams, Burn and EMAAR are not on this year’s car, and neither are Hisense and Endless, which appeared in late 2014.

Total has gone too, following the team’s switch from Renault power to Mercedes – the latter being one new name on the car. Significantly from a performance point of view, Lotus will use Petronas products as Mercedes do.

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Circuito de Jerez, 2015

In terms of sponsors, Sauber have probably had more change than any other team during the winter. Gone are the Mexican sponsors as Gutierrez is no longer part of the team – the three America Movil brands as well as Jose Cuervo and Unifin are no longer on the car. The same goes for 2014’s third driver Giedo van der Garde, who has taken McGregor with him. NEC has also disappeared.

The few remaining sponsors have been joined by those brought by the new drivers. Nasr has got Sauber a big backer in Banco do Brasil, while Silanna has followed Marcus Ericsson from Caterham. The latter company has logos in three spots on the C34, but more interestingly, their logos only appear on Ericsson’s overalls.

Force India

Force India show car with 2015 livery

Many of those missing Sauber logos can now be found on the Force India, who might as well rename themselves Force Mexico. They now boast the only Mexican driver in the field, Sergio Perez, and while their VJM08 is yet to be revealed they showed off an updated livery in Mexico City last month.

Along with an increased presence of Mexican sponsors from America Movil (Claro, Telmex and Telcel brands), Interproteccion and NEC have arrived from Sauber. Lubricants firm Quaker State is another new addition.

Apart from that, the usual Vijay Mallya linked brands remain on the car. The striking colours of Roshfrans are gone, and so is the logo of Kazakhstan foundation Astana which was associated with 2014 third driver Daniel Juncadella.

2015 F1 season

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  • 43 comments on “Sponsor Watch: 2015 F1 car launches”

    1. “Force Mexico” :) Had a good laugh!

      1. That’ll be why they’ve turned up in time for pre-season testing. Oh wait…

      2. terrible, terrible

    2. Will Max be allowed the champagne if he makes the podium??

      1. There’s a thread on this in the forum :-)

    3. Always had a thing for that 1991 Tyrell Honda, what a pretty machine!

      1. The 1991 field was so iconic. I loved the Tyrrell, Jordan, McLaren and quite a couple more.

    4. Talking about McLaren. Tag Heuer is also missing from the car, yes they are still on the driver overalls, but missing from the car itself.
      But, now to think about it – on the MP4-29 they were also missing?

    5. Ron Dennis is delusional in his quest for that *mythical* sponsor that will give him the amount of money he thinks McLaren deserves. Now after more than a year without a title sponsor, he comes and says that they are “something of the past” (see Autosport), while Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull continue their successful partnership. It’s idiotic.

      If I had been in his place, I had gone back to Vodafone and offered them a deal at a discounted rate (“for old time’s sake” and had made the Red-White car the fans wanted. Hell, even non-McLaren fans wanted to see that, and McLaren and Honde were teasing that for months. After the positive first impressions of the new livery, getting even more sponsors would have been easier.

      Now McLaren has:
      – no title sponsor
      – fan backlash because of the livery

      Smart move Ron.

      1. From today: No title sponors, directly from the horse’s mouth

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117663

        1. He does have a point. I mean which teams do have a traditional title sponsor now? Of the current grid, plus the two teams in limbo, only Red Bull (Infiniti), Mercedes (Petronas) and Williams (Martini) do/did.

          1. @weeniebeenie lotus is also the title sponsor for team enstone.

            1. @rigi

              Wrong. TE is paying for the rights to use the name, not the other way around.

      2. People seem to be forgetting that Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Redbull are brands in their own right; They don’t want to devalue their own investment by giving away space on their cars too cheaply.

        1. Exactly! Ron wouldnt want to associate Mclaren with a brand thats not relevant..I mean what if P&G rocked up with 30-40 million with a Tampax livery? Tampax Mclaren Honda? Not likely. So, if they arent strapped for cash, why should Mclaren stoop for brands they deem to be not worthy? Him comparing Man Utd is reasonable, but I suspect he should be comparing Mclaren to Liverpool…and I dont see Liverpool raking in 50 million a year for shirt sponsorship.

          If Mclaren are in need of money…they will get a sponsor..worry not.

          1. Man Utd have had a blip for one season and suddenly Ron is comparing them to Macca?

            As you said, Liverpool will be the right comparison. Great historically but a poor run in recent times. Once in a while they achieve heights (like 2012 McLaren car) which they destroy with their own organizational failings (Benitez Facts).

          2. @jaymenon10 .. I have to agree with that;
            but I really wish Mclaren find a relevant, iconic sponsor: the cars look so sad right now !

      3. Apparently Vodafone left McLaren because they had “decided to focus on business priorities away from Formula One sponsorship” (it wasn’t because of McLaren’s poor performance in 2013, because they announced that they were leaving on March 14 2013, 3 days before the first race of the season), so I don’t know if Vodafone would actually be willing to come back into F1 even if they were offered a discounted price.

        1. No, it was simply that Ron wouldn’t take a 24 month contract with no early upgrade option and £100 up front for his chosen handset ;-)

    6. They [Hugo Boss] replace former apparel supplier Puma.

      Look at the Mercedes racing suits, they are still made by Puma.

    7. Isn’t Microsoft Dynamics a new sponsor for Lotus?

      1. I remember it being on the 2013 Lotus (mainly because I drove that car a lot in Forza Motorsport 5 lol)

    8. So basically, there’s zero interest from new sponsors, and the only change is big teams cannibalizing the smaller ones.

      1. Essentially, although in fairness it isn’t necessarily big teams getting sponsors off the small ones.

        McLaren is still a massive team and that has lost many, while Force India and Sauber are still a similar size. Williams and Lotus are similar too. The bottom line here is that the successful teams have got the sponsors.

    9. I think it is appropriate the sponsors get some recognition for the hundreds of millions of Euros they contribute to F1.

      1. @drycrust That’s a weird comment. They are getting what they paid for (recognition). What you just said it’s like me saying “it’s nice that Starbuck recognize my economical contributions giving me a latte after I contributed them with the price of a latte”.

        1. Don’t you think the sponsors want a little bit more than their logo on the TV every so often? Why do you think a big hospitality cavalcade surrounds F1?

          1. @jb001 I also wanted more than a latte from Starbucks. But I didn’t paid more, so i didn’t get more. Funny how that works.

            But that wasn’t the point anyways, I just found the post of @drycrust weirdly formulated.

        2. @jb001 Where I live, which is New Zealand, the sponsors get very little exposure on TV from F1, and as far as I can tell that is the same in every country where F1 is broadcast on Pay-TV.

    10. Interesting article, thanks! I always wonder what’s the story behind each of these links. After all, it’s about hundreds of millions here.

    11. SO many “naked” cars…

      1. @jcost Were you sarcastic, or was complaining for the sake of complaining?

        The only truly “naked” cars are McLaren (and the situation is voluntary), Toro Rosso (which is RBR’s B-team) and Sauber, so that’s one team.

        Sure, Lotus, Williams are not exactly filled with sponsors, but naked? Not at all.

        1. From how I saw that comment I don’t think that @jcost was being overly serious, or sarcastic for that matter, and to be fair, the point is not wrong.

          You named 3, which is 3 too many for Formula 1.

        2. McLaren has lots of space to be filled, so does Sauber, Williams, Lotus and even Mercedes!

          Toro Rosso has a giant “Toro” (Bull) and Red Bull lettering covering like 45% of their space so it’s not a great example despite Red Bull using their teams to promote their own products but wouldMercedes use their cars only to promote in-house brands? Because they could easily post a “Smart” logo on their cars, but would it bring more money to the F1 team? Not quite sure it’s good economics….

    12. Isn’t Altran a new partner/sponsor for Lotus. I know it already appeared in the old Renault team but I think it wasn’t on the car last year.

    13. “Epson previously sponsored Lotus and Tyrrell when those teams had Honda power (see below).”

      Tyrrell became BAR -> Honda -> Brawn -> Mercedes.

      SO in a way, they’re just going back to Tyrell.

    14. Dom Reilly & Hatch are no longer Williams partners

    15. Skull Candy have joined FIndia

    16. Coprisa has joined Lotus

    17. It’s also interesting to note the teams race gear suppliers.

      Alpinestars now supplies more than half of the grid. Williams and Toro Rosso are now supplied by them, and they were already supplying RBR, Lotus and Force India last year.
      OMP now only supplies Sauber, having lost Toro Rosso.
      Same with Sparco, McLaren only this year and loosing Caterham and Marussia. If Manor do return they’re likey to be supplying again though.
      Mercedes and Ferrari are both supplied by Puma, same as last year.

      Don’t know why I find this stuff interesting, really.

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