As the cars took to the track earlier today, the eagle eyed among you will have noticed significant additional branding on the Mclaren Honda. Confidence from the business world that Mclaren will find success with Honda seems to have been restored with GSK joining other new partners to the team Chandon, Richard Mille, & Volvo Trucks for 2016. This confidence was some what validated through the teams strong performance in qualifying were Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button qualified 12th & 13th respectively.
Full details of the partnership will be formally announced in the coming weeks, but sources within the team indicate the deal is significant in value and part of a multi-year commitment. For the Austrian Grand Prix GSK have elected to promote their toothpaste brand Sensodyne, it is expected GSK will use their on car sponsorship windows to promote a variety of brands over the course of the season. Ron Dennis has many times commented on a refusal from the team to reduce their sponsorship rate card despite a period of challenging results, with this in mind GSK branding appearing on driver helmet’s, cockpit head rests and on the rear wing of the MP4-31 suggest the funding involved in this agreement will be significant for the team.
GSK and Mclaren are no strangers having entered into a business to business partnership a number of years ago. Within this initial agreement Mclaren Applied Technologies shared knowledge and experience in lean and efficient process to facilitate efficiency gains within GSK manufacturing lines. Full details of this partnership can be found through this link.
This expanded GSK Mclaren relationship may trigger other FMCG’s (Fast Moving Consumer Good’s) companies to re-evaluate Formula One as a marketing platform. With this likes of Johnson & Johnson walking away from Olympic Games sponsorship following continued doping scandals, and from International Football tournaments owing to corruption allegations. The prospect of Formula One partnership, despite issues the sport faces in it’s ability to define regulations, offers huge market exposure in critical growth markets such as the Americas.