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Formula 1 Steers Value Generation

Teams, Drivers Collectively Amass $15.9M in Brand Value Through Three Races

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Sponsorship Valuation
Social Media
April 25, 2023
April 27, 2023
 min read

Formula One has experienced a popularity boom over the last decade, especially in the U.S., which will host three races this season. With robust race coverage and a Netflix series shining a brighter spotlight on the sport stateside, drivers and teams now have a rapidly expanding marketing demographic with as-yet-untapped potential. Highlighting the significance of social media for teams and drivers, we used MVP’s platform to assess brand value generation and determine which entities have been most successful in promoting their partners online this season. Our analysis includes all content from owned social accounts belonging to F1’s 10 teams and 20 drivers from February 20 through April 16, thus encompassing the entirety of preseason testing and three stops on this year’s calendar. Overall, the groups generated $90.8M in total post value, with brand value for sponsors representing 17.5% of that figure.

Teams Create 1.7B Impressions for Brands

MVP’s platform is capable of reliably detecting branded content in the form of video, image, or text across social media channels and determining a value based on factors including logo prominence and post virality. Throughout our study, teams shared 5,070 posts including branded content, meaning 49% of all posts featured at least one sponsor. These posts created 1.7 billion total impressions while earning 123.8 million engagements, the latter figure representing 57% of the aggregate total throughout our eight-week evaluation. As a result, team sponsors reaped benefits to the tune of $12.5M worth of collective brand value. Notably, the top two brand value generators among F1’s ten-team field were Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-AMG Petronas, who both exceeded $3M in total brand value and were separated in our rankings by only 1.5%. However, despite a larger follower count and more active social channels, Mercedes finished second in our team rankings to Red Bull’s $3.11M total. Among the top factors for Red Bull’s first-place finish was its propensity to use Instagram heavily. Of its 446 posts during the period, 49.8% were shared to IG, where Red Bull earned 71.3% of its total brand value. Conversely, Mercedes only shared 21.8% of its 721 posts on the image-sharing app, limiting its ability to bolster its brand value returns on the platform regularly proven to be the most valuable. Other F1 teams to exceed $1M in brand value during our study were Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin, which generated $2.1M and $1.07M, respectively.

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Alonso Tops Drivers’ Social Podium

At age 41, Fernando Alonso is proving he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level of motorsports. An offseason move to Aston Martin has had an immediate impact, as Alonso has finished on the podium in all three races so far this year, bringing his career podium total to 101, placing him sixth all-time. As a two-time champion who has spent more than two decades on the F1 circuit, Alonso is unsurprisingly among the most popular drivers. But more than that, he has been the most intentionally active social media user to date this season. Sixty percent of Alonso’s posts this year have featured branded content, resulting in $932.5K worth of brand value for his partners. His total represents 27.8% of the overall figure generated by the circuit’s 20 drivers through eight weeks. Standing alongside Alonso on our metaphorical brand value podium are Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen – both of Red Bull Racing – who generated $449.8K in brand value and $380K in brand value, respectively. Conspicuously absent from the top of our rankings is Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, whose follower count is at least 2.98x higher than any other driver. Although he ranked second in average brand value per branded post – behind only Alonso – Hamilton shared a mere eight pieces of branded content throughout the period, minimizing his potential impact for sponsors.

F1 Gives Red Bull Wings on Social

Among the most useful features of MVP’s platform is its ability to isolate brand value generation by entities. We ingested 11,661 social posts for this analysis and endeavored to highlight the top performers from each account and how they rank relative to the field. Naturally, teams shared more total content than athletes, so we divided our rankings into distinct subsets.

Given the online prowess of both Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-AMG Petronas, their namesake partners expectedly topped our rankings for performers by social entities. Red Bull earned $2.26M worth of brand value generation from its team – 89.9% of its total realized across F1 team entities – to outpace all other partnerships by at least 2.22x. Meanwhile, Mercedes F1 team generated $1.02M worth of brand value for Petronas, making it the only other partnership to exceed $1M in brand value. Rounding out the top three in our list was Haas Automation’s brand value generation from Haas F1, which totaled $630.6K. Notably, each of the top ten places in our performer rankings was occupied by a partnership belonging to one of the top four organizations in our team rankings. Mercedes-AMG Petronas also earned top-ten placements for Mercedes-Benz and Qualcomm Snapdragon; Scuderia Ferrari’s partnerships with Ferrari, Shell, and Santander finished fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively; and Aston Martin secured top-ten performances for Aramco and Cognizant.

Predictably, Fernando Alonso’s partnership with Aston Martin was the highest earning among all driver collaborations. Throughout our study, Alonso generated $286.4K worth of brand value for the auto manufacturer, accounting for 85.8% of the company’s total brand value share from drivers. Alonso’s partnership with Aramco also landed in the top ten of our driver partnerships, placing sixth with $59.4K worth of brand value. Red Bull – which received $551.4K worth of brand value from drivers overall – earned $277.4K in brand value from Perez and $231.9K from Verstappen, as the teammates’ partnerships with the global beverage brand placed second and third in our rankings. Also appearing twice atop our performers by entity rankings were Petronas – which received $217.5K in brand value from George Russell’s content and $58.4K worth of brand value from five posts shared by Hamilton – and Aston Martin, which complemented its total from Alonso by amassing $46.1K in brand value from Russell’s posts despite the Briton driving for Mercedes.

Global Series Set to Accelerate

Our early-season analysis suggests teams and drivers have vast audiences across social media, but it is incumbent upon them to highlight their partners for maximum sponsorship value. MVP’s platform is a unique, dependable tool for assessing success rates for these entities while also revealing possible areas of improvement in social marketing. After a break for much of April, F1’s field will reconvene this week in Azerbaijan, as Baku plays host to the fourth stop on the 2023 calendar. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix begins a busy stretch of four races in five weeks, including the Miami Grand Prix on May 7. As the season progresses, stay connected with MVP for broadcast and social breakdowns as well as local insights when the global series makes its three stops in the States.

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