News and Insight

How to Keep Comms Fresh Through F1’s Longest Season

This year represents the longest season in the history of Formula 1, with 24 races spanning from the end of February to early December stopping at Australia, China, USA (three times) and many more far-flung destinations on the way.

So how can the championship’s numerous brand sponsors (300+ at last count) keep their comms messaging fresh throughout the season?  


Early Wins

If you have a good story to tell don’t hold back. Fatigue had set in by the Qatar Grand Prix last year, when Max Verstappen won the championship with six races to go. This year is likely (hopefully) to be closer but getting early wins on the comms board will fuel your activation through the first part of the season.

Pre-season is not just a time for teams to try out their new cars but also for sponsors to develop their brand messaging and start building a new audience.


Navigate the calendar

More races means more choice for comms activations and storylines. Focus on a location, culture and demographic that can maximise value for your brand. Vegas may seem like an obvious choice but your message may get lost amongst the many other marketing programmes. Is there a venue that your brand can own?


Luxury watch brand IWC, which sponsors the Mercedes F1 team, jumped on this opportunity in the run up to the 2023 Miami GP by hosting a 3-a-side basketball challenge with Lewis Hamilton in the Miami Design District, garnering global coverage and positive brand association.


Watch for Trends

And be agile enough to follow up on them. With a jam-packed race calendar, real-time engagement is crucial. Stay agile with your PR campaigns, reacting swiftly (sometimes literally) to trending topics and adapting them for the F1 community.

Putting processes in place that streamline approvals so you can act on these cultural moments is crucial to success. McLaren are masters when it comes to newsjacking, as the team’s homage to Taylor Swift’s album announcement at the start of last season demonstrated.


Create Unique Stories

Brands will have to work harder than ever to make their voices heard through this crowded season but unique storylines and authentic voices can always cut through. In a world where predictive algorithms are making output more homogenous, sport will always stand out for its power to surprise and delight. The best comms campaigns will be agile enough to take advantage of this.


Global e-commerce group THG went big on its partnership announcement with the Williams team last year by bringing a fully-branded monster truck onto the track at the US Grand Prix in Austin. This formed the basis of a story in a film that challenged the two drivers to find the best way to promote the partnership with THG’s MyProtein brand, culminating in a unique photo shoot and global coverage.


Team Up

One way to create something unique is to collaborate with another brand and even across sectors. As the sport continues to attract an influx of new audiences (the ongoing Netflix effect) there’s an opportunity to think creatively and look across your full partnership portfolio.  

Puma’s recent three-dimensional partnership with A$AP Rocky and F1 resulted in stacks of coverage and a sell-out collection as clothing, music and global motorsport teamed up together.  


Be Data Driven

Brands should work closely with the championship and the teams to ensure they understand the audience, when they are engaged and what they are most interested in about the sport. Targeting the right audience is essential to avoid wastage.

Regularly assess the performance of your PR campaigns through analytics. Understand what resonates most with the audience and adapt your strategies accordingly. Data-driven insights enable continuous improvement, ensuring your brand remains relevant and effective.

Looking ahead, this expanded race calendar should be seen as an opportunity for the many marketing and comms teams involved in the championship. It provides more venues and sporting moments on which to hang a message and campaign, as long as you have strong storylines and processes that have been developed through the off-season.

This foundation is all-important because once the racing starts it will be full-speed to the finish.


Marc Cutler is Head of Communications at Right Formula