McLaren digital ad panel, 2022

McLaren using new technology to change sponsor logos on car in real-time

2022 United States Grand Prix

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McLaren has claimed a first by introducing new technology which will allow the team to change the branding on its car during a race weekend.

The system will be debuted at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix and used until the end of the season, though in Friday practice sessions only.

Two display units will be positioned around the cockpits of their MCL36s. Images issued by the team indicate they will be either side of the driver.

McLaren’s executive director for brand and marketing, Louise Evans, described it as “one of the most exciting innovations in digital advertising technology.” The team expects it will allow them to give more flexible branding options to its partners.

“Being able to rotate different brands on our cars is a game-changer in this space and we are looking forward to seeing the impact this has on the wider industry,” Evans added.

The team is looking into using the system for its other racing activities, which include IndyCar, Extreme E and, from 2023, Formula E.

McLaren claimed an other advertising first earlier this year when it incorporated the logo of Google’s Chrome browser into its wheel hubs. The team previously experimented with illuminated hubs during post-season testing last year.

The system which will be used from this weekend was developed by Seamless Digital. CEO Mark Turner said the “this is just the beginning of [flexibility] on car branding and motor racing assets.

“By ensuring the technology works on a Formula 1 car we have already cracked the toughest place to innovate and are set to disrupt advertising across F1, motorsport, golf, US sports and ultimately, wider more mainstream use.”

The screens will be used by brands to “communicate situationally relevant messages”, said Turner. Many sponsors already vary their logos and graphics from race to race in order to suit local markets or adjust for variations in legislation.

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2022 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

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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29 comments on “McLaren using new technology to change sponsor logos on car in real-time”

  1. Can’t describe how excited I am by this latest technical innovation by Mclaren which sticks within the rules of what’s possible according to the regulations. Between this, budget cap breach discussions, and the vibrant state of the junior formulas, all those stick in the mud oldies harking back to the days of the fw14-b must be ready to eat their words.

    1. Hahaha. Very funny! :)

    2. Are they going to use it during the race? We can tell in advance Alpine is going to beat them easy with that extra weight.

  2. someone or something
    20th October 2022, 15:35

    Some teams run cars with large areas of unpainted carbon fibre because of weight and weight distribution reasons. Meanwhile, McLaren introduce display panels on their cars.
    I guess we don’t have to look very far to see why they’re only running them on Fridays.

    1. I understand and accept that the sport is very commercial, but I expect the cars to be the best they can make within the rules [and budget ;) ].
      But McLaren seems to be focussing on how to make it the fastest billboard.

      Or maybe they are smarter than RBR and the rest of us and try to allocate the development cost on that part of the car as marketing expenditure (outside the budget cap).

    2. Also spotted on a Friday (at Silverstone): McLaren dropping a car on the floor off its jacks, then trying to fit a wheel inside-out.
      But well done for discovering you can rotate brands by putting them on wheel covers.

    3. And only a few years ago, they were struggling to get any sponsors on board!

      1. They were NOT. They were choosing RIGHT ones, never went cheap way. Smart at the end.

    4. McLaren looks to the extra money not for the extra points then this race.

  3. This upgrade might win McLaren some championships.

  4. Teams; All our cars are overweight!
    McLaren; Lets add more weight!

  5. Mclaren has been at the forefront for many an innovation over the many decades. 1st to bring carbon fibre chassis, 1st to use f duct which enabled f1 to go the route of a movable rear wing. 1st and thanks to Lewis to have a different design steering wheel. And there are many other innovations that they were the 1st to bring to the table. Thats why i chose them as my favorite team way back in late 80s. Always looking to push the boundaries. Their existence founded purely on their need to win. And i might add on all levels of the sport. Well done Mclaren. Still Rons Team in my mind though.

    1. Yeah LCD displays are some real high tech innovate stuff.

    2. This has nothing to do with racing and lacks any innovation it makes the car much heavier so slower and this doesn’t nothing to make the car faster. Probaly making the earo slower.

      If they wanted innovation for sponsors they should try programmable paint which you can change sponsors without adding weight!

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    20th October 2022, 16:43

    This is exactly the sort of thing that the teams and Liberty will love. Expect to see them made mandatory in the near future along with a new, higher minimum weight limit….

  7. Way to punch Alpine where it hurts! with a LCD display

    1. Real question, can you watch house of the dragon on it or is it too dim.

      1. Excellent question. Which reminds me im behind with 2 episodes now…

  8. Looks exactly like the screens that we have had in the cockpits of V8 Supercars for the last 20 years..

    1. Looks exactly like the screens that we have had in the cockpits of V8 Supercars for the last 20 years..

      Do those do anything useful, like, perhaps show the drivers a view of what’s behind and to the side?
      A clear, non-vibrating wing mirror that isn’t actually a mirror or on the wing and fiddling with the airflow. (Sorry Merc)

      1. Yeah, I know, it’s an “innovation” that’s been on most road cars for a number of years…

      2. No, they show sponsor names.

  9. These horsepower-adding advert displays are sure to gain them a few tenths. Next they’ll add ‘IROC-Z’ to the side of the car for another 2 tenths.

  10. That “new technology” headline was pretty exciting. But then I read the article and it turned out it was a screen. I’ve got loads of those in my house.

  11. I’m interested in what type of tech they’re using. Presumably OLED. But yeah not exactly the pursuit of performance.

  12. Wow, Keith, you really scooped this story! There’s no other reference to Louise Evans on the Web today. Congratulations on being in the right place at the right time.

  13. It was hard enough to follow when drivers were changing their helmets every weekend, now the teams could essentially be changing their liveries every few corners! FIA need so set some clear rules (stop laughing) in case this gets out of hand

    1. Haha oeps keeping face straight, It’s too heavy they lose speed that way if McLaren want to drop to the rear it will be easy to reconish them.

  14. Little do they know some have already shown true innovation by enabling a “park it and shut down immediately ” message to be anonymously transmitted and appear simultaneously on both screens.

    Ferrari have already shown keen interest in such technology. Should their drivers look set for a one two result.the message would be sent to each of their drivers (to maintain consistency of finishing results)

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