Formula 1 teams may be becoming more open to crypto advertising once again, even though many crypto companies withdrew their sponsorships after some high-profile incidents last year.
Kraken, a US-based crypto exchange, recently announced a partnership with the Williams Racing F1 team for a new sponsorship and Web3 agreement, making them the first major crypto company to sign a new deal in Formula 1 racing in 2023.
As part of the partnership between Kraken and Williams Racing F1 team, Kraken's branding will be displayed on the race cars and team merchandise. In addition, the deal will also include the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for fans to collect.
Kraken's customer-owned digital collectibles artwork from leading third-party NFT projects will also be showcased on the rear wing of the car at select races.
James Bower, the commercial director of Williams Racing, expressed his enthusiasm for the new partnership with Kraken, stating that they are excited to offer their fans innovative crypto and Web3 experiences. The partnership will also allow Kraken to expand their reach to new institutional clients and businesses through Williams Racing's network and events.
A number of Formula 1 racing teams terminated their crypto sponsorship deals when problems arose in late 2022. For instance, in mid-November, the Mercedes F1 team suspended a partnership with FTX exchange that was valued at around $27 million, due to the exchange's ongoing issues.
Ferrari also ended its long-term partnership with Swiss blockchain organisation Velas in January without warning. Similarly, Alfa Romeo dropped its sponsorship deal with Vauld, a crypto lender that experienced difficulties last year.
In September, Singapore restricted crypto advertisements around the track, but allowed them on cars. Other countries, such as France, also imposed restrictions on trackside crypto commercials last year, causing some teams to remove them.
However, some teams, such as Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren Racing, Red Bull, and Haas, have kept their crypto sponsors despite the restrictions.
Kraken's partnership with Williams Racing F1 team marks the first major crypto company to sign a new deal in Formula 1 racing this year, and it could signal a potential return for crypto companies to racing and sports as markets recover in 2023.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash