Formula 1 Racing

How commercial success has fuelled Aston Martin’s on-track F1 speed

Jefferson Slack, Aston Martin

However, in one area the Silverstone team has already been operating at a high level and attracting envious glances from the competition.

In commercial terms, Aston Martin has been a consistently strong performer as the number of brand names on the car attests. The team has not one but two title sponsors in Cognizant and Aramco – or three if you count the financial contribution made by the sister road car company – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, the team is now generating around eight times the sponsorship income that it did in 2020, the last year it ran as Racing Point. That’s an impressive effort by any standards, and it says a lot about the appeal of the Aston Martin name.

Identity has always been an issue for Team Silverstone. There was a time in the Jordan days when it had an outlaw image that appealed to the likes of Benson and Hedges, and savvy commercial boss Ian Phillips had a Midas touch when it came to bringing in sponsors.

However, that allure had faded somewhat at the end of the Jordan era. Through its brief Midland and Spyker period the team was an even harder sell, and then in the Force India days it was hard to spot any sponsors that weren’t associated with Vijay Mallya until BWT came along.

After Lawrence Stroll took over the team in 2018 he used the deliberately generic Racing Point name for a couple of seasons while laying the groundwork for the change to Aston Martin in 2021. Helped by the presence of Sebastian Vettel, who gave extra credibility to the project, it was like lighting the blue touchpaper as sponsors signed up.

The man responsible for bringing in the money is Aston Martin F1 managing director Jeff Slack, a 59-year-old American sports marketing veteran who knew nothing about motor racing until he met Stroll early in 2020.

Jefferson Slack, Aston Martin

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

You won’t know his name, but you might have seen him – in an Instagram video Aston issued of its Bahrain third-place team photoshoot he was the man bouncing up and down and hugging Fernando Alonso.

Slack has brought know-how gleaned not just in US sports but also in European soccer, having once run one of Italy’s top clubs. Along the way, he’s worked with global megastars such as Michael Jordan and David Beckham. A competitive cyclist in his younger days, he began his sports marketing career in the late eighties organising and raising the finance for a US-based team that he also rode for. In…

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