Formula 1 has always been a sport that attracts big brands and big money. Sponsorship deals are vital to the teams, helping them fund their expensive operations and gain a competitive edge. Some of the most iconic moments in F1 history were backed by groundbreaking sponsorships that changed the landscape of the sport. In this article, we take a look at the ten biggest sponsorship deals in Formula 1 history, examining their impact and the partnerships that propelled teams to new heights.
- Vodafone and Ferrari (2002-2006)
Arguably one of the most memorable partnerships in F1 history, Vodafone’s sponsorship of Ferrari began in 2002 and lasted until 2006. With an estimated worth of $500 million, this deal saw the telecom giant’s logo emblazoned on the iconic red cars driven by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. During this time, Ferrari enjoyed immense success, claiming multiple Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships.
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- ING and Renault (2007-2009)
Dutch financial giant ING entered Formula 1 in 2007, signing a three-year deal with Renault for an estimated $375 million. The partnership saw the Renault team rebranded in ING’s orange, white, and blue colors. Despite an initially promising start, the relationship was marred by the “Crashgate” scandal in 2009, leading to ING’s premature withdrawal from the sport.
- Marlboro and Ferrari (1997-2011)
The partnership between Marlboro and Ferrari is one of the longest and most lucrative in F1 history, spanning 14 years and generating an estimated $300 million annually. Although tobacco advertising was increasingly regulated and eventually banned, Marlboro continued to support Ferrari discreetly, with their red-and-white color scheme still strongly associated with the team.
- Petronas and Mercedes (2010-Present)
Malaysian oil company Petronas joined forces with Mercedes in 2010 and has continued to support the team ever since. The deal, estimated to be worth $250 million annually, has powered Mercedes to unprecedented dominance in the hybrid era, claiming seven consecutive Constructors’ Championships from 2014 to 2020.
- West and McLaren (1997-2005)
British American Tobacco’s West brand sponsored McLaren from 1997 to 2005 in a deal reportedly worth around $200 million. The iconic silver-and-black livery of the West-sponsored McLaren cars became a symbol of success, with Mika Hakkinen winning back-to-back Drivers’ Championships in 1998 and 1999.
- Red Bull and Aston Martin (2018-2020)
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin joined forces with Red Bull Racing in 2018, following a successful technical partnership. The $180 million deal saw Aston Martin become the team’s title sponsor, with both parties benefiting from shared technology and marketing exposure.
- Santander and Ferrari (2010-2017)
Spanish banking giant Santander formed a partnership with Ferrari in 2010 that lasted until 2017. With an estimated value of $150 million per year, this deal featured prominent Santander branding on Ferrari cars and provided the bank with significant global exposure.
- Martini and Williams (2014-2018)
Iconic Italian spirits brand Martini signed a five-year deal with Williams in 2014, estimated to be worth $130 million. The partnership revived the classic Martini Racing livery, which adorned the Williams cars and evoked nostalgia for motorsport enthusiasts.
- UBS and Formula 1 (2010-2021)
Swiss banking giant UBS became a global partner of Formula 1 in 2010 in a deal that lasted until 2021. The sponsorship was valued at around $120 million, and it saw UBS enjoy extensive branding opportunities at F1 races worldwide. As a prominent financial services provider, UBS’s association with the pinnacle of motorsport helped enhance its brand image and global presence.
- ROKiT and Williams (2019-2020)
Telecoms company ROKiT signed a multi-year deal with the Williams team in 2019, estimated to be worth $100 million. Although the partnership was short-lived, ending in 2020, ROKiT’s branding adorned the Williams cars during the team’s challenging transition period.
Sponsorship deals play a crucial role in the high-stakes world of Formula 1, enabling teams to invest in their operations and compete at the highest level. The partnerships featured in this list represent some of the biggest and most iconic deals in the sport’s history, demonstrating the immense value of aligning with the fast-paced, innovative, and globally recognized world of F1. As the sport continues to evolve and embrace new markets and technologies, it is likely that sponsorship deals will only continue to grow in size and importance, shaping the future of Formula