There was an interesting comment about the relationship between Formula One Management and the V8 Supercars buried in a recent Speedcafe.com.au article.
The article about the Australian Grand Prix stated that a new race contract offered by FOM “compromised the future of V8 Supercar support races …. in order to appoint more global partners and not be commercially restrained from local arrangements.”
The V8 Supercars recently signed a new $240M TV deal (in a country with the same population as greater London – that’s epic!) and that has resulted in a push to make next year’s Grand Prix support races a full blown championship event. It seems like FOM are now keen to nip that idea in the bud.
The V8s are immensely popular in Australia and the Grand Prix organisers do everything they can to accommodate the series. This includes V8 specific garages in pitlane and a unique deal with FOM that allows V8 teams to sell their own merchandise within Albert Park. That’s a commercial luxury most support categories do not enjoy.
With FOM seemingly keen to put more restrictions on race promoters to squeeze a few extra bucks out of “global partners”, the V8 Supercars might abandon Albert Park altogether instead of turning it into a championship round. The V8s use the Melbourne event primarily as a sponsor networking opportunity, but they don’t need it as much as the event needs them. In fact, in 2007 the V8s didn’t show up because their demands had not been met.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the future of the V8s participation, and if that has an impact on contract negotiations with the local government who constantly demand value for money.