The fact that Formula One is the world’s greatest exponent of the car and the part of the competition where the most technology exists is not something you don’t already know.

The expense of having the latest and greatest in automotive technology is absolutely tremendous, which is why many private teams have ended up succumbing and disappearing from the competition.

The budgets that were managed until last season in F1 were exorbitant, with teams like Ferrari or Red Bull that in 2021 far exceeded 400 million euros.

Currently the teams have a limited budget, which has allowed brands such as Audi or Ford, as well as private companies such as Andretti, to confirm their landing in Formula One in the coming years.

Right now no team can spend more than 145 million euroswhich is a significantly lower amount than that accumulated in previous years, although it is still a considerable investment.

To achieve these numbers, throughout history the teams have had to devise them in all possible ways, the “easiest” way being advertising.

This has meant that very powerful brands from various fields have landed in Formula One during all these years, accompanied by other types of companies and situations that have been quite surreal, strange and even somewhat geeky.

But in the end it is understandable, because What the teams are looking for are companies that want to advertise on their cars and that they make it possible for them to cover their annual budget, which is why sometimes they have had no choice but to succumb to curious sponsorships.

Index of contents:

Mission Winnow

Ferrari F1 2019

To all F1 fans, the first of those strange sponsorships that comes to mind is the one that starred in Ferrari in 2019 with a print on the rear wing where they put Mission Winnow.

Although the Italian brand tried to give it a more complicated meaning with a statement where the ambiguity was clear with phrases like “this sponsor is a laboratory for change focused on reformulating conversations, generating open debates”, the truth is that behind everything it was known that it was the Phillip Morris Tobacco Company.

With tobacco brand advertising banned, the Scuderia’s previous sponsorship, Marlboro, could no longer appear, hence this campaign and logo design that tried to circumvent the rules of that ban, but at the same time continue to attract attention.

Football also wants to be in the Great Circus

Chelsea F.C.

Something that left the entire paddock with their mouths open was when in the year 2012, right in the free practice of the GP. from Spain, appeared the Sauber team with the eShield of the English football team Chelsea FC in the back of his car.

It was really surprising, since even some members of the FIA ​​(International Automobile Federation) declared that they were unaware of such sponsorship. It was completely legal and there was no objection, but it was strange that a team from another sport would have a presence in F1.

The relationship between the two is still valid today.

Bin Laden in Formula One?

Bin Laden in Williams

Although it may seem like a joke, it is not, since the construction company most important in Saudi Arabia, called bin Ladenowned by the father of the most famous terrorist of all time, sponsored the team Williams in 1979.

He sponsorship was ephemeral and nothing significant, but it is still curious seeing today that we know everything that happened afterwards.

Obviously in those years no one could have imagined anything that happened in 2001, which is why sponsorship was considered totally normal and even went completely unnoticed.

Penthouse magazine arrives

Hesketh 1976 Penthouse

The adult magazine Penthouse managed to sponsor the same team twice heskethwhich today is missing.

The first time was in 1976turning this single-seater into one of the most remembered in history for a design of a taste, doubtful at least.

The second time that collaborated with this team was in 1982although this time the design was not as exaggerated as the previous one.

A little music doesn’t hurt

the ABBA group

Another of the sponsorships most remembered for the strangeness of the event, was when the Swedish pilot Slim Borgodd (second-profession musician), spoke with the owners of the German ATS team to indicate that he had the possibility of a sponsorship for the team.

This supposed to carry the logo of, at that time, the most famous group in the world, which was ABBA, on the side of the car.

They were at the peak of their success and this was not going to do more than promote to a greater extent, in addition to helping the team.

May the Force be with you

Red Bull and Star Wars

A few days after the film was released Star Wars: Episode II, Revenge of the Sith at the Cannes Film Festival, Red Bull I was going to compete in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.

What was the surprise when, we not only see the Austrian team car covered in publicity for the filmbut the mechanics they were all dressed in imperial trooper costumes.

T-minus, the ghost mark

T-minus Arrows

The case of T-minus is not that it was geeky or extravagant, since it seemed like a normal and current brand, although it was not known at all, that had reached Formula One.

Arrived at the Arrows team (now defunct) in 1999, initially claiming to be an energy drink, then a motorcycle brand, then bouncing around in various facets until it emerged that the business was simply a rebranding tool (via Donut Media).

The visible head of this project was the Prince Malik Ado Ibrahim and the deal was for $125 million with the team. Instead of selling something themselves, they wanted to put a logo on a Formula 1 car and then sell this brand as a collaboration to increase market visibility to other companies.

In the end it disappeared, which caused Arrows to stop being present in F1, since it did not receive the expected money.

Well “protected” car

John Surtees and Durex

One of the most curious sponsorships of Formula One occurred between 1976 and 1978 in the team of John Surtees, the only driver to be F1 and motorcycling champion in history.

It is evident that in a single-seater you must be protected, but this time they took it to another level, having an agreement with the British manufacturer of condoms Durex.

Alan Jones would carry the logo on the front and totally visible, nothing to hide it, of the brand of condoms in exchange for a good amount of money, of course.

A sponsorship like that is scary

Merzario-Ford Funeral Home

The team Merzario-Ford He dared to put a very inappropriate sponsor on his car, to which many drivers, knowing that many of them are quite superstitious, would never mount.

But when money is needed for a project to survive, desperate decisions are made and sponsors like the one we are going to see are accepted.

It was a funeral home In the car, yes, in a very discreet way. Arturo Merzario himself, the owner of the team, took over the controls of the car.

It was a short relationshipbut many pilots of the time assured that it was not a pretty feeling to see that advertising on the rear wing of the car.

Two in one

BAR Honda 1999

In the year 1999 the BAR Honda team He proposed to the FIA ​​to have a different sponsorship for each of his cars, that is, he wanted that in the first car appeared only lucky strike and that in the second out 555 the protagonist.

The International Automobile Federation he denied itafter several attempts and various types of designs, but they did not succeed.

Having closed with both sponsors, they decided a “solomonic solution”that is, the half car for 555 and the other half for Lucky Strikes, both separated by a zipper.

The originality of the design cannot be denied. The sponsors must not have liked it very much, since the following year it was no longer the same and 555 disappeared.

These are the strangest, most curious or directly geeky sponsors that have ever been in Formula One. You can tell us what you think about them on our social networks.

By Lay

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