Insight: How race promoters benefit from F1’s marketing push

Insight: How race promoters benefit from F1’s marketing push
Kate Walker
By: Kate Walker
Apr 12, 2018, 7:14 PM

Speaking at a Baku conference on the benefits of hosting major sporting events, F1’s global director for promoter relations Chloe Targett-Adams outlined the new ways in which the sport is working with its race promoters.

The Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, played host earlier this year to the second annual Conference on Benefits of Hosting Major Sports Events, and Formula 1 was a key focal point, with presentations from Chase Carey and the Russian and Azerbaijani race promoters.

Chloe Targett-Adams, F1’s global director for promoter relations, revealed the commercial rights holder’s fresh approach to the sport, calling promoters “live platforms” for Formula 1, and outlining plans to engage small and medium local businesses with promoters to ensure year-round promotion and partnership.

The Australian Grand Prix, which already boasts 44 local partners and which the Victorian government uses as a means of showcasing local business, was held up as a model to aspire to.

The grid is cleared of equipment and personnel as the drivers prepare to begin the formation lap
Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images

“We’ve been with Melbourne since the mid-’90s and that really shows in the long term impact of the economic uplift in the state and city,” Targett-Adams said. “We’ve worked with the promoter over the years to create commercial opportunities for local businesses and the Victoria state and Melbourne, and our global partners. 

“We’ve got 44 partners across the event now, and they all have visibility. It’s a tiered programme designed to suit their spend and their marketing.”

While the public face of F1 sponsorship has long been the high-profile global deals with brands like Emirates and Rolex, the concept of the race promoter working with the sport to offer B2B opportunities for local businesses both large and small is not a new one – it is simply attracting notice now, when all eyes are on the sport’s new marketing push.


Photo by: Sutton Images

Growing the sport is the main objective, and F1 is now working directly with its promoters to try and boost engagement and interest both globally and locally.

“As an official F1 promoter, as one of our commercial partners, you join the club of global partners, nations and brands across multiple industries,” Targett-Adams said. “We’re all familiar with our F1 teams: Ferrari, Williams, Renault. But our nations are promoters with iconic city centres: Shanghai, Melbourne, Montreal… 

“As we enter more markets and in key growth areas – Asia, Middle East, North America, South America – it’s interesting to see how we can help them work together to increase [growth].”


Photo by: Sutton Images

Having a centralised marketing department for the first time in the sport’s history has seen F1 working hard to find new ways of promoting Formula 1 and all that it does – or can do – for a host nation. But boosting the sport’s profile is not the only goal: Targett-Adams is also keen to improve the sport’s sustainability and long-term health through community outreach.

She added: “A new initiative we have now is to really drive up the marketing and promotional tools, so that we bring the vision to our partners, our promoters, local businesses. We want to elevate our partners, bring [them] into the event more, increase visibility. It stimulates the economy and it’s also inspiring and inspirational to the local population, maximises the national drive. 

“We’re also going to promote sustainability through more community and social engagement. The marshals are a very good example of that, and the volunteer programmes. Another aspect is F1 in Schools, which is the world’s biggest school age challenge: it’s grown from 2000 [participants] in 2004 to over 1.3 million in 2017. Forty-six countries, 26,000 schools and it engages across the curriculum and teaches employability skills.  

Martin Brundle, Sky TV, F1 in Schools World Champions
Martin Brundle, Sky TV, with F1 in Schools World Champions

Photo by: Sutton Images

“We want to support and work without partners to create new fan engagement opportunities to really deliver our marketing plans. We have an F1 fan health, lifestyle and fitness exhibition. Pirelli are sponsoring a pit stop challenge. [We’re looking at] how we engage more in behind-the-scenes access, track experiences, garage tours, and we’re also looking at what multimedia digital opportunities, programming and content that we can work with our partners on to deepen that relationship with fans.  

“A key message is that we at F1 are very much open to business and open to working with you and creating more visibility.”  

Fans and Fanzone
Fans and Fanzone

Photo by: Sutton Images

That openness is more than just talk – Targett-Adams provided attendees with a list of current examples of ongoing promoter engagement.

“In Spain, we’re working on a gifting partner solution with a leading department store – not just at the Spanish race, but across other sectors and in other key markets they’re interested in,” she said. “With our PepsiCo promoter, to showcase their tequila we have the tequila range across the hospitality areas.  We can offer proposals and point of sale activations year-round, not just for the weekend of the event.  

“Our Australian promoter did a great activation in 2016: the world’s longest lunch in collaboration with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival to showcase local chefs. It also brought in local and interstate businesses throughout Australia and really engaged wide and round.”

Formula 1 sign overlooking Melbourne, Australia
Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Kate Walker
Article type Special feature