From condoms to princesses on Verstappen | The most controversial F1 sponsors

Sponsors have been an important part of Formula 1 since the inception of the world championship, and names and logos are indispensable on the cars, but sometimes things go wrong. In this Special GP fans We take a look at some of the most notable sports supporters in history.

With an audience of millions around the world, Formula 1 is one of the biggest podiums on earth. This provides companies and organizations with a huge opportunity to highlight their services or products. Over the years, hundreds of sponsors from big to small have passed the review in Formula 1. Both internationally active industrial giants and new companies hoping to make a name for themselves by shining on one of the cars. Those who bring a large bag of cash can usually find a spot in one of the cars. However, this cooperation sometimes leads to strange situations. And we’re taking a closer look at some of today’s most curious things.

Tyrell – Xena Warrior Princess

Starting with Team Tyrrell, which contested no fewer than 463 Formula 1 races between 1970 and 1998. With 33 total victories, one Constructors’ Championship and three Drivers’ Championships, Tyrrell was far from filling the field. However, in the 1997 season, the formation dropped to the back of the net. Because of this, they had great difficulty finding sponsors, and thus decided to temporarily join Xena: Warrior Princess. Yes, really. This was a very popular TV series at the time, starring actress Lucy Lawless. Renee O’Connor played her boyfriend. The two ladies appeared in large photos on the car during the Grand Prix of Great Britain, which made for great TV. Who was behind the wheel, I hear you ask? Mika Salo and Jos Verstappen.

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John Surtees-Durex

The following story is a bit more controversial. Or at least at the time it was seen as a major scandal. John Surtees entered Formula 1 in 1970 with his eponymous team in good spirits, but good results were not forthcoming. After five seasons, Surtees had only been on the podium once, and after that the financial need was high. The British company Durex stepped in to break through. Rubber factory M was willing to take a bag of money with him in exchange for a place in the car. And that’s what happened.

In 1976, the manufacturer of condoms appeared in Formula 1. This caused a sensation. Particularly in Great Britain, people thought it impossible. He even went so far as to have the 1976 Formula 1 season largely unbroadcast in the UK. This while James Hunt and Niki Lauda fought one of the most legendary title battles in the history of the sport that year.

However, not all curious collaborations between Formula 1 teams and sponsors have generated controversy. Some are just funny. Like when Red Bull Racing debuted in Monaco in 2005 with an actual Star Wars car. The Austrian formation participated in Formula 1 for the first time that year. The dark blue livery was replaced by a Star Wars sticker pack for this race. It was a one-off collaboration, but the Sith Lord himself had some of his stormtroopers with him.

India Force- Havaianas

The Red Bull Racing stunt was of course a smart move from a marketing point of view. Something they didn’t hate at Force India in 2018. That year, the halo was put on the car for the first time as a safety measure. Now he has proven his worth many times over, but at first there was a lot of criticism of the new part. It would just be an ugly thing that looked a lot like slippers. And that rang a bell with the Force India team. Soon a deal was struck with the famous flip flop brand Havaianas already featured on the halo.

Rich Energy

Finally: rich energy. Energy Drink As a Formula 1 sponsor, nothing new comes to mind. But this drink made it not so long ago — and sometimes still is — a little too tight. Rich Energy CEO William Storey initially wanted to take charge of the Force India team, but Lawrence Stroll outbid him. The Canadian later renamed the team to today’s Aston Martin. So Rich Energy joined the Haas team for the 2019 season, which thus appeared on the track with the gold and black color known to many fans.

The US team received the first few deposits for cooperation, but then the situation quickly began to get out of hand. Rich Energy was not subsequently sued by British bicycle manufacturer Whyte, because Rich Energy would have taken control of its logo. In July of that year, something strange happened again. Rich Energy suddenly posted a message on social media, announcing the cancellation of the deal with Haas with immediate effect. the reason? The performance was disappointing. Haas himself said he knew nothing about it, which led to a very unusual situation.

There was speculation that Storey had run out of money. In September, Haas terminated the deal because Rich Energy was no longer paying the agreed amounts. A severe blow to the team, which was already not in good shape financially. Story has largely disappeared from view, but the saga surrounding the questionable drink regularly gets a new chapter. For example, the British “businessman” is still vaguely hinting at a return to Formula 1, although you can assume that none of the teams want to work with the best man anymore.

William Storey

Part two of this GPFans Special will appear on the site shortly.

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