U.S Tech is flocking to Formula 1

There is some big news in the Formula 1 space today, but also media and tech adjacent.

Formula 1’s Red Bull Racing team formally announced itself as Oracle Red Bull Racing in a reported five-year, $500 million title sponsorship deal with the U.S-based technology firm.

Oracle Red Bull Racing released the news via a 30-minute, magazine-style live stream on social media.

The deal, worth $100 million annually, comes at a time of a $145 million cost cap.

Christian Horner talked to the Associated Press and said that the deal would help the team force efficiency despite financial regulation.

We covered this in a previous letter, but Red Bull has been using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in the past, including last year. However, this enhanced relationship is a way to “further improve race strategy, engine development, and projects within Red Bull Advanced Technologies.”

  • The team ran 1,000x more race simulations in 2021 than the previous year using OCI, helping improve accuracy.

  • Simulation speed jumped by 10x, assisting race strategists in making quick decisions.

  • OCI also reduced costs of simulations.

Oracle Gets Its Wings

As we wrote about in the previous letter, The Red Bull Racing Paddock was launched last year, which provided a loyalty program for fans and a direct line of communication with the team.

This year, Oracle and Red Bull will unveil more features, including the ability to create content.

Additionally, Oracle will work with the newly formed Red Bull Powertrains to help develop F1 engines for 2026 and beyond.

The Short Shrift

Oracle’s expanded partnership comes a day after Scuderia Ferrari announced their partnership with San Diego-based tech firm Qualcomm. Late in December, Aston Martin announced their collaboration with Sunnyvale-based Juniper Networks. McLaren and San Francisco-based Splunk have been in partnership as the tech firm providing a means to make faster decisions for the Woking teams’ cars, as well as a partnership with Round Rock, Texas-based DELL Technologies.

Red Bull is already partnered with Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems, while Aston Martin’s title sponsor is Teaneck, NJ-based Cognizant. Austin-based Crowdstrike has been providing cybersecurity to Mercedes since 2019. Denver-based Palantir recently expanded its partnership with Scuderia Ferrari to provide data decisions to race operations via its Foundry Platform. (This Scuderia Ferrari x Qualcomm partnership intrigues me as something that can become bigger one day. I have my eyes on the moves that are being made here.)

Are you picking up a common theme here?

U.S-based technology firms flock to Formula 1 and can’t get enough of it.

HPE, NetApp, Zoom, and Amazon’s AWS are all involved with the sport as well.

I’ve written before, and I’ll mention it again, firms like Salesforce, Adobe, Qualtrics, Intel, and IBM would all be in line to take on an Oracle-like sponsorship, or at minimum, an Acronis-like partnership — providing cyber security for Williams Racing.

The Media Blitz is Working

With the push into the United States becoming more apparent, it’s only natural that American brands with the most to offer and gain join the sport.

Considering the F1 car and everything that goes into it is essentially an IoT ecosystem, tech firms are ripe for the picking.

But why now?

Liberty Media and Drive to Survive.

Above the obvious placements on the race car itself come opportunities to be displayed on merchandise, social media, and now a Netflix series.

And the viewership numbers are growing.

Zak Brown, McLaren CEO, mentioned last season that the Netflix series is seeing “north of” 50 million viewers, with the previous season being more watched than the first.

Such reach would put “Drive to Survive” comfortably among Netflix’s most-watched TV originals ever. And while Netflix declines to comment, they usually despise releasing specific viewership numbers.

“The audience for F1 is growing all over the world because of the show,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO, and chief content officer of Netflix, was quoted as saying at a conference in October.

Taking all of this into consideration, add in the news of a third race in the United States, it’s safe to say that U.S Tech is the new cigarette in Formula 1.

Let’s discuss this below, click the button to leave a comment and start a conversation.

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