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Volume 23 No. 13
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Stewart-Haas offers NASCAR-F1 combo deal

Romain Grosjean drives one of Haas F1’s two cars. The team has one primary sponsor.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Stewart-Haas Racing has begun pitching sponsorship inventory that can be split between its NASCAR team and that of its new sister Formula One operation, Haas F1.

Debuting this season, Haas F1 is owned by machine parts titan Gene Haas, who’s also co-owner of SHR alongside Tony Stewart, the outgoing driver of the team’s No. 14 Sprint Cup Series entry. While Stewart is not financially involved in Haas F1, the teams operate as sister companies to a large extent.

Stewart-Haas and Haas F1 declined to specify how the new offering would work, but SHR began reaching out to prospective sponsors about the new bundling option last week.

For now, SHR is seeking to use the bundling option to fill space on the No. 14, which will be driven by Clint Bowyer starting next year. Deals for most if not all of the No. 14’s current sponsors, including Mobil 1 and Bass Pro Shops, will expire after this season, while inventory is filled for SHR’s other three Sprint Cup cars.

Haas F1 has a largely blank slate with which to work among its two cars. Its only primary sponsor is Haas Automation, Haas’ machine parts company.

Bundling possibilities notwithstanding, a source said SHR would ask about $20 million annually for a seasonlong primary sponsorship of the No. 14. Primary sponsorships in F1, which has a much greater global following than NASCAR, often run between $40 million and $70 million annually.

“At the end of the day, Gene Haas is the only person in the world who can make a joint offering of NASCAR and F1, and so when you look at both of those platforms, you’ve got the most popular motorsport in the U.S. and then the most popular [motorsport] globally, which obviously dominates all countries excluding the U.S.,” said Mike Verlander, vice president of sales and marketing for SHR.

“When we’re all out pitching — whether it’s us or [Joe Gibbs Racing] or Hendrick [Motorsports], whoever — ultimately we’re selling the same stuff: race cars that perform very well with drivers that have big personalities. Well, what can we do that [JGR President] Dave Alpern and [HMS vice president of marketing] Pat Perkins and those guys can’t? We can offer F1.”

Just Marketing International is Haas F1’s agency of record and will assist in the search for companies that may be interested in aligning with both teams. Jon Flack, JMI’s president and COO of the Americas, said this is the first time in his motorsports career that he can remember a joint NASCAR-F1 offering.

“This is a unique point of differentiation for them,” Flack said before pointing to other NASCAR teams and the benefit that their sister companies offer. “Hendrick’s got Hendrick Automotive Group as a parent company, Team Penske has Penske Corp., Roush has Roush Performance. For [SHR], being able to bundle an international platform in Formula One with a U.S. platform in NASCAR, that’s a unique value proposition.”

Three races into the 2016 Formula One season, Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean sits eighth in the series standings.