SBD/October 1, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lewis Hamilton To Be Face Of Mercedes; Deal Also Allows Driver More Personal Sponsors

Hamilton's contract with Mercedes will give him more freedom to pursue sponsors

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is "expected to become the face of Mercedes advertising after signing a three-year deal” to leave the McLaren team and drive for Mercedes, according to John Reynolds of MARKETING magazine. The signing of Hamilton “comes after Mercedes-Benz signed a new commercial agreement with F1's commercial rights holders, which guarantees the team's long-term commitment to the sport.” One “contractual difference between Hamilton's deals with Mercedes and McLaren is that Hamilton was allowed only one personal sponsor -- Reebok -- by McLaren.” His other marketing opportunities were “restricted to McLaren sponsors such as Santander and Vodafone.” At Mercedes, “his contract gives him a lot more freedom and he will be allowed a larger portfolio of sponsors” (, 9/28).

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: In London, Tom Cary noted Hamilton's deal “could be worth” as much as US$100M. Mercedes "is waiting” for its BOD in Stuttgart to sign off on the new F1 Concorde Agreement, the commercial pact that binds the teams to the sport, before making an official announcement about Hamilton (London TELEGRAPH, 9/28). In a separate piece, Cary wrote Hamilton's advisors, Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, "know little about the mysteries of F1 engineering." But Hamilton would not have been "ignorant of all these facts." Cary: "Do not believe those who would have you believe that he was persuaded to move purely because of Fuller’s lust for filthy lucre." It may have "played a part -- there is no doubt XIX will make more money out of him at Brackley and they may have tacitly encouraged him to make the leap” (London TELEGRAPH, 9/29). Also in London, Ted Macauley wrote XIX Entertainment executives were “probably behind the switch because they want to make him a global name, like they did with” MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham and the Spice Girls (London DAILY STAR, 9/30).

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