Lagardere Sports is tying up with Formula One to raise the sport’s profile in a region. The multi-national sports managers will also work to build strategic partnerships for the sport in China from 2018 onwards. F1’s new owners, Liberty Media, are also considering to add a second grand prix in China, which for long has continued with the Shanghai event.
Liberty Media is working on F1 expansion plans in China and the US. Lagardere, also working for Chinese and Asian soccer expansion, will head the task of China expansion, say media reports.
F1 and Lagardere in a joint statement have said that Lagardere would “identify and secure strategic partners for Formula One in areas including event promotion, media rights, digital and brand partnerships, merchandising, talent development and racing team development.”
Formula One’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches said fans in the region had already showed they were among the most passionate. “We are keen to build on this, developing our brand through unique live entertainment experiences designed to get fans closer to the action,” he said.
The Chinese and Singapore Grands Prix are listed on the 2018 calendar with asterisks as subject to confirmation by the commercial rights holder. In spite of strong fan base and an indigenous market for the sport, China has yet to produce a Formula One race driver but there has been speculation that a possible Chinese team could be positioning itself for an entry.
An unidentified consortium of Chinese investors was reported last November to have made a $2.08 billion takeover bid for McLaren Technology Group, supported by former boss and shareholder Ron Dennis. That came to nothing, and Dennis announced last week that he had reached agreement with the other shareholders to sell his stake.