FTX, figurehead, sinks
Mercedes was the first at the Brazilian Grand Prix last November to terminate its sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency firm FTX. An announcement that came following the sudden liquidity crisis of the platform which filed for bankruptcy and in the process led to a decline in the cryptocurrency market.
Toto Wolf, Mercedes team principal, expressed his surprise at the situation: “We’ve considered [de signer un accord avec] FTX because they were one of the most credible, solid and financially sound partners in existence” commented the Austrian.
“We can see that a cryptocurrency company can be on its knees and gone in a week, it shows how vulnerable the industry still is. It is unregulated and I think it needs to be, because there are so many customers, investors and partners like us who are completely incredulous of what happened.”
Followed by Red Bull, Ferrari and AlphaTauri
Subsequently, speculations about agreements of other Formula 1 teams with crypto companies had begun to emerge.
Hypotheses that were confirmed just before the end of the year holidays, with Red Bull seeing the Tezos cryptocurrency withdraw on its own as explained by Mason Edwards, the commercial manager: “The Tezos Foundation has decided not to renew its agreement with Red Bull Racing, as it no longer corresponds to our current strategy. »
Despite this announcement, the foundation is still linked to the McLaren team, when the Austrian team still has its partnership with the cybercurrency company: Bybit.
As a reminder, this is the the largest cryptocurrency sponsorship deal in F1 history with a $150 million contract.
A few weeks later, it was Ferrari’s turn to suspend the multi-year collaboration with Velas Network AG, one of its most important sponsors, which will be seen in 2022 on the rear fenders of the red single-seaters. A financial loss of 30 million euros, but compensated by the arrival of Genesys, world leader in the field of customer experience, which allows companies to deepen the connection with customers thanks to the cloud and digital technologies.
Finally, after the top teams, AlphaTauri followed suit by removing the Fantom from its partner list.
Welcome to the family! 👊 pic.twitter.com/DBFsKuNiXg
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) January 12, 2023
F1 and crypto, divorce registered?
In 2022, all teams had an agreement with one or more blockchain-based cryptosponsors. A year and a half ago, the F1 championship also signed a $100 million sponsorship deal with trading platform Crypto.com.
However, for several months now, the cryptocurrency world has been in great difficulty and trust as well as commitments are collapsing.
Finally, the crypto-asset ecosystem remains true to its image, that of a controversial and volatile environment. Several major political decisions in the coming weeks in France and Europe will allow or not to protect cryptocurrency exchange platforms and therefore the sponsors of F1 teams.