Skip to main content

F1: Does Marketing Power Outweigh Driving Skill?


F1 is suffering in the financial crisis, with HRT having lost the battle to stay on the grid earlier this year when funds in its native Spain weren't enough to keep the team running. Pay drivers are proliferating and the circus is taking in a bewildering array of new events in countries prepared to pay for the privilege, usually at the expense of races with lengthy historical significance to the sport.

Which raises the question, just how important is driving skill to a team, especially when balanced against huge marketing draw?

The reason for asking this question now is related to the rise of American racer Danica Patrick, who become the first female to take pole position at Daytona earlier this week. The combination of American, female and reasonably fast suggests the kind of marketability that most of F1's partner brands would open their piggy banks for.

American racers don't generally achieve a great deal in F1. Former champions Zanardi, Andretti Jr,, da Matta, Bourdais and Montoya achieved very little between them. It's unlikely that Patrick would do much better given her moderate success in the US.

Does that matter though? Danica Patrick in a Red Bull or Ferrari would boost those brands significantly in the critical US market. Enough to give up a little success for? Probably not, but then a smaller team like Williams might be the perfect place for the 30 year old to fetch up. A race winning team last year, but still without huge expectations, it would be a relatively safe seat for the Danica Patrick brand.

Is either party brave enough to give it a shot? Maybe Bernie will be able to grease the wheels of that one...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.