Wheels haven’t fallen off F1 yet

I didn’t understand your cover story “Beached Buggies” (MW last week), which highlighted Canon and Travelex quitting as F1 sponsors.

It was an excuse for you to highlight an apparent decline, but your figures are wrong. F1 is suffering like every sport in the media recession, which has halted the 35 per cent a year growth of the past five years. But decline? No. Even 2003 has seen more sponsors come in than leave.

GlaxoSmithKline made a $24m (&£14m) commitment for three years, for example, and Budweiser the same amount over five years. The net gain has been about double the net loss.

F1 has never made any secret of its weakness in the US, but this is balanced against its massive strength in the rest of the world.

Travelex was a little-known name three years ago when it announced its F1 sponsorship, now look at it. How is Anthony Wagerman going to replace the coverage he has lost? It’s all very well criticising, but has he a solution to replace a $2.5m (&£1.5m) a year spend with the high exposure global coverage he wants? Of course not. It will cost him five times that to make even a dent.

Tom Rubython

Editor in chief

Business F1 Magazine

London EC1

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