“Mick Schumacher would be a profit for Formula 1”
Formula 1 continues to break new ground in marketing and licensing. Now the premier class fragrance is even available as a perfume. A conversation with the F1 boss for digital and licenses, Frank Arthofer.
Mr. Arthofer, the Formula 1 season is already drawing to a close. How proud are you that you ended the year so well despite the corona pandemic – and that you were the first global 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 nice for the fans too that we could return to old tracks that would not have been on the calendar under normal circumstances. All in all, we see the season as positive.
The marketing machinery is starting up again. Formula 1 is opening up more and more to new ideas and is now bringing out 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, on the other hand it also stands for lifestyle. And it consists of elements that can also be combined with fragrances: performance, technology, perfection.
Now the premier class fragrance is even available as a perfume
© F1 Fragrances
To what extent do the fans get closer to their favorite sport, which is actually 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 break the boundaries of fragrance design and also incorporate the latest technology such as 3D printing for the bottles into the design.
Actually, that’s only logical. We have many smells in the premier class: the hot rubber of the tires or the champagne on the podium. Incidentally, the nicest smell a Formula 1 driver can imagine and which he can never get enough of. Charles Leclerc only said after his first victory last year: The moment on the podium was the best of his life. Capturing that in scents, like 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. Since our purchase, we have worked hard to turn Formula 1 sport into an entertainment and lifestyle brand. The perfume collection is an important part of our strategy.
What is your favorite Formula 1 memory?
How we stuck together in the corona pandemic. How the teams were able to save lives with “Project Pitlane” and the production of oxygen masks. How we were able to take eSports to a new level in Formula 1 in the dark hour of the pandemic. We had 30 million viewers during the lockdown. It was a great success for us. Also to see how the drivers interact directly with the fans on platforms like Twitch and the fans could get to know a whole new side of their heroes. A moment that made me proud as a digital boss.
The Eifel GP was streamed live on YouTube
© Red Bull Content Pool
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 class digitally position itself in the future?
During Covid we were the number 1 sport worldwide on the four largest 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 that. And it’s very important for us to keep going, to keep in touch with the fans on social media. We have 500 million fans worldwide. And in the past they were not served well enough by us – not our TV partners, but Formula 1 itself. Whether it’s eSports, F1 TV, digital content for our website or our YouTube channel – we want to continue opening up to fans with more content and service.
In Germany, the premier class 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 certainly do not take this lightly. However, I believe that the growth of our digital content will help us – because that’s also a kind of freely accessible platform. Most households have Internet access and can thus consume Formula 1 video content both on our own channels and on the freely accessible websites of our TV partners. We are more than compensating for the loss on free TV and hope that Sky will support us accordingly.
If Mick manages to get promoted, it 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 it will be as successful as it looks on paper.
What will access to F1 TV look like in German-speaking countries 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 to ensure that Sky customers can also use 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 does a great job there. The difference to many other sports: We have a steering wheel, a seat and pedals – not just a controller. So we are much closer to reality and the further our simulation develops, the more likely it becomes that e-racers get into the real car or our Formula 1 drivers use the game to train. The long-term potential is huge. Because, as you know, a career in racing isn’t exactly cheap.