Marlboro and British American Tobacco are not experiencing the involvement level of the past decades, when BAR was double-sponsored by Lucky Strike and 555, and where more than ¾ of the grid had the red and white rectangle on their suit. With "Mission Winnow" and "A Better Tomorrow" campaigns claiming space on the fastest cars on Earth, both companies have set this sport as strategic and complementary to their core business.
Apart from them, the new season has seen a massive turnover of stickers on a few cars; well, many cars missed completely some parts of their cars’ body.
Williams, loner from Martini & Rossi, found in ROKiT smartphone manufacturer the title sponsor for the season; as well as Haas, where energy drink Rich Energy stepped into the official entry name of the team. Later in 2018, Force India changed its official name to SportPesa Racing Point, thanks to the Mexican bet company. Ultimately, after the flip flop branded Halo, Zak Brown covered the back of the Mclaren rear wing with Huski Chocolate logo.
Even to the institutional side things are changed: even if Rolex still claims the Official Timekeeper title (except at Monaco where there’s TAG Heurer), we’ve seen the appearance of AWS by Amazon for the pit-stop window prediction and for the live cornering speed monitoring. What we are generally seeing is a replacement of the technical and more related sponsors of motorsports, with new companies not always linked to the sports sphere.
As everything is connected, the absence of the pillars of Motorsport heritage may be related to the change of the public seated in front of the TV or in the grandstands. The change going on have been accelerated after the Liberty Media settlement: from the graphics to the Superbowl-alike moments, the resemble of the US trademark was all but hidden.
For sure, as every sport evolves through decades, there’s a different balance of audiences nowadays: the big masses coming from the generalist TVs are gone with the pay-tv platform conquering the scene; as a result, all the non-passionate viewers stopped following the sport, reducing the basin each weekend.
On the other hand, the Americanisation has not yet paid dividends: making each pre-race and after-race a show is not favouring the entrance of the New World fans, being the F1 still considered a European affair; but even in the Old Continent there’s a big misunderstanding of tactics and tyre compounds among all, that are kicking fans out: why the driver who can go slower on track, without stressing too much the rubber and avoiding blistering and graining, can take the win? How it works the undercut? These are the doubts or the difficulties that fans face, even after eight season of Pirelli monopoly.
Summer rounds won’t clarify and make the condition easier: with hot temperatures boiling the surfaces and with the title battle limited to only two contenders someone could be see at the beach and pool time to be more fun…