Formula 1 is constantly breaking new ground in marketing and licensing. Now the fragrance of the royal class is even available as a perfume. An interview with Frank Arthofer, the F1 head of digital and licensing.
Mr. Arthofer, the Formula 1 season is already coming to an end. How proud are you that you have brought the year to such a good end despite the Corona pandemic – and that you were the first
worldwide sport to resume operations in the summer?
Frank Arthofer: It was extraordinary how Formula 1, teams, promoters and partners managed the situation together. And it was also good for the fans that we were able to return to old tracks that would not have been on the calendar under normal circumstances. All in all, we therefore see the season positively.
That’s how Vettel performed in 2006:
The marketing machinery starts up again. Formula 1 is opening up more and more to new ideas and is now launching its own fragrances in cooperation with “Designer Parfums”. What was your first thought
when the idea was presented to you?
(laughs) The Formula 1 brand is actually more diverse than you might think at first glance. On the one hand it has something playful, speed and fun, but on the other hand it also stands for lifestyle. And it consists of elements that can also be combined with fragrances: Performance, technology, perfection.
To what extent does this bring fans closer to their favorite sport,
which is actually quite far away?
Of course, this is also a means of introducing a new audience to us and our products. Formula 1 consists of a good mix of history, stories, design and innovation. We wanted to push the boundaries of fragrance design and bring the latest technology like 3D printing for the bottles into the design.
Did you ever think that Formula 1 could be captured in fragrances?
Actually, it’s only logical. We have a lot of smells in the premier class: the hot rubber of the tires or the champagne on the podium. By the way, it’s the most beautiful smell a Formula 1 driver can imagine, and one he can never get enough of. Charles Leclerc said only last year after his first victory: “The moment on the podium was the most beautiful of his life. Capturing that in scents, as we did with Carbon Reign, allows us to share it with fans around the world. Not only visually, but also through the sense of smell. We’ve been working hard since we bought it to make Formula One an entertainment and lifestyle brand as well. The perfume collection is an important part of our strategy to achieve this.
What is your own best Formula 1 memory?
How we held together during the Corona pandemic. How the teams saved lives with “Project Pitlane” and the production of oxygen masks. How we were able to take eSports to a new level in Formula 1 during the dark hour of the pandemic. We had 30 million viewers during the lockdown. That was a great success for us. Also to see how the drivers were able to interact directly with the fans on platforms like Twitch and how the fans were able to experience a whole new side of their heroes. A moment that made me proud as digital boss.
Formula 1 is expanding its presence in the digital world and also in social media. The Eifel GP was even streamed live on YouTube.
How will the premier league position itself digitally in the future?
During Covid we were the world’s number one sport on the four biggest social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. This enabled us to significantly increase the interaction rate with our audience. We are proud of this. And it’s very important for us to keep going there, to keep in touch with the fans in social media.
We have 500 million fans worldwide. And in the past, those of us – not our TV partners, but Formula 1 itself – have not been well served. Whether it’s eSports, F1 TV, digital content for our website or our YouTube channel – we want to continue to open ourselves to the fans with more content and service.
In Germany, the premier class in 2020 will not be shown on Free TV for the first time in 28 years.
How big is the fear of losing loyal fans and viewers?
We are certainly not taking that lightly. But I do believe that the growth of our digital content will help us – because it is a kind of freely accessible platform. Most households have Internet access and can therefore consume moving image content both on our own channels and on the freely accessible websites of our TV partners Formula One. This more than makes up for the loss in free TV and we hope that Sky will support us accordingly.
How much will the arrival of Mick Schumacher in Formula 1 help?
If Mick makes it to the top, that would be a big win for us – not only in Germany. He is a talented young driver and also comes from the most successful Formula 1 dynasty. We hope that he will be just as successful as it looks on paper.
How will access to F1 TV in German-speaking countries look like under the new conditions?
Sky is our exclusive live partner. But we still have our F1 TV product, which gives access to our archives with more than 600 races. And we are also working on ensuring that Sky customers will also have access to it in the future.
E-Racing is booming. What does the future of eSports Formula 1 look like?
First: Our Formula 1 game is incredible. Codemasters is doing a great job. The difference to many other sports: We have a steering wheel, a seat and pedals – not just a controller. So we’re much closer to reality and as our simulation develops, the more likely it is that e-Racers will get into the real car or our Formula 1 drivers will use the game for training. The long-term potential is huge. Because, as you know, a career in racing does not come cheap.
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