Lessons From F1’s Explosive Rise Ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin
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Lessons From F1’s Explosive Rise Ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin

October 19, 2023

This weekend, F1 makes its way to Texas for the 52nd running of the US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. If you plan on attending, be sure to stop by the FEVO Fan Lounge for some shade, refreshments and a bit of motorsports banter with the crew in yellow and black.

Given that we’ve been preoccupied with all things Formula 1 over the past few weeks, we’ve also decided to dedicate this week’s blog to a handful of reads on the sport’s momentous rise in recent years, many of which have expert lessons to take away on marketing, brand-building and community engagement. If you want to learn a thing or two from one of the hottest brands in the world right now, give ‘em a read.

Harvard Business Review: Leadership lessons from Toto Wolff and Mercedes

Harvard Business Review, a publication that knows a few things about running a successful business, analyzes the philosophy of Mercedes boss and F1 great Toto Wolff for some insights on building and managing a successful team. There are some great learnings to take from this piece: attention to detail is paramount; no job is too small for anyone; always analyze your mistakes; and relentlessly battle complacency — among others.

The Fast Break: The impact of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” and how it changed the sport

Until 2019, Formula 1 was not a particularly popular sport in the United States. It wasn’t disliked, but most people just knew it as a snoot European rival to Nascar and Indy Racing. Then Netflix released Drive to Survive and F1 took off faster than Max Verstappen starting at a green flag. F1 had been criticized for years for its inability to adapt to the digital landscape, which was costing them fans in new demographics and places. Then came the launch of the show. With the power of storytelling on full display, viewers became emotionally invested in the personalities behind the cars (racers, team principals, crew) and started to pay attention to the sport out in the real world. The success has been so monumental that countless others — like tennis and golf — have tried to create their own binge-able docuseries. It’s a blueprint for increasing fandom at any level: drama, characters and good storytelling will always drive interest. 

Campaign: Red Bull Racing – Winning the race off the track

Red Bull Racing has attracted a ton of fans thanks to a variety of factors. First off, they’ve been very good recently, and there is no better advertisement than winning. Second, their established brand ethos vibes very much with what F1 is about: taking risks, going to the extreme, doing everything at high speed. They’ve also been impressively strategic with how they think about F1 and marketing their team. According to this article, “They’ve invested heavily in digital and social media, put on more races and revolutionized the way it is packaged. There are also new Japanese and Chinese drivers, which provide a lot more relevance in key growth markets.” One would do well to heed the lessons laid out in this article when it comes to building a brand in any sports or entertainment vertical. 

Other interesting nuggets from across the web:

Amex partners with F1 in 1st new sports sponsorship for payment company in more than a decade (AP)

Oracle Red Bull Racing's secret weapon in F1 is its simulation tech (Motor 1)

McLaren to trial recycled carbon fibre at F1's US GP (Motorsport)

It’s a new day for Formula 1 (NY Times)

Mahomes, Kelce, McIlroy invest in Alpine Formula 1 Team (ESPN)

Racing at the Edge: How portable data centers are driving Formula 1 (Data Center Dynamics)

The history of Grand Prix racing in the United States (Aston Martin F1)

Lessons From F1’s Explosive Rise Ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin