DECEMBER 13, 2007
Th Motorsport Business Forum welcomed a record 540 participants from 35 countries, including Formula 1 team principals, motor racing stakeholders, major global sponsors. Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, said: “The Forum has grown considerably over the last few years and has become an extremely useful platform for discussion and debate about various issues in Formula1 and in motor sport in general. I think the credibility of the Forum is now well and truly established.”
The conference and exhibition, which took place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, featured a number of high profile seminars delivered by major industry figures.
FIA President Max Mosley opened the event with the keynote address, where he presented the latest thinking behind the developments in the FIA Formula One World Championship. He was joined on stage by Burkhard Göschel, Chairman of the Formula One Manufacturers Advisory Commission and one of the world’s leading authorities on the car industry, who offered his opinion on these developments from a manufacturer’s point of view.
This keynote was followed by a lively and enlightening session involving three F1 power players: BMW Motor Sport Director Mario Theissen, ToyotaF1 President John Howett, and Force India F1 team owner Vijay Mallya.
Appearing at the Forum for the first time, Mallya immediately recognized its significance to the motor sport industry. He gave a hugely inspirational and charismatic presentation which focused on the enormous potential of India and its people to embrace the sport.
Mallya said: “I’m very glad there is a business forum for motor sport. It allows people to present their strategies, show the commercial benefits of sponsorship in motor sport and share ideas. Any Forum that focuses on getting sponsors is a great initiative. This Forum is both unique and very desirable from a sponsor’s point of view.”
Other conference highlights included presentations from WilliamsF1 Marketing Director Scott Garrett, who listed a number of innovative ideas for spicing up the sport, and NASCAR expert Chris Lencheski, who gave another interestinng presentation about what Formula 1 can learn from the US series. The morning of the second day featured a particularly lively question and answer session where F1 team bosses Nick Fry, Colin Kolles and Christian Horner joined Renault chief engineer Pat Symonds and the FIA’s Tony Purnell to debate the current issues in the sport and the findings of the F1 Racing Motor Sport Business Forum survey in association with Honda Racing.
Nick Fry, CEO of the Honda Racing team, said: “It is very noticeable over the three years I’ve been coming to the Forum just how much it has grown in every way. The number of exhibitors has grown immeasurably, the quality of the speakers has improved significantly, and the audience has grown too. The Forum’s importance is that it appears to be one of the few places where people can freely discuss and examine all aspects of the sport.”
Pat Symonds added: “We’re all far too focused on the racing when we are at the track so it is good to meet people on an informal basis where the business can be the focus. I was particularly interested to hear what the guys from MotoGP and NASCAR had to say about the business side of things because I think in Formula 1 we must look outwards, and we must learn from other people.
The Forum welcomed an especially strong presence from motor sport’s major sponsors. Global sponsorship directors and sponsorship agencies were there in force, representing some of the biggest names in sponsorship, including RBS, Allianz, Total, Hilton, Accenture, Mumm, Disney, ING, Credit Suisse, Shell, Siemens and Tag Heuer.
Juan Carlos Perez, Shell’s General Manager of Global Sponsorships, said: “Clearly, the Motor Sport Business Forum is the 18th paddock of the year.”
Every major global racing series was also represented, including the FIA World Rally Championship, FIA World Touring Car Championship, MotoGP, A1GP World of Motorsport and NASCAR.
Pete da Silva, A1GP CEO, said: “As a first time attendee to the Motor Sport Business Forum, I was impressed by the level and quality of all the speakers. The exhibitors were also first class and allowed for good interaction throughout.”
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha MotoGP team, added: “This is my third year attending this motor sport conference and I think it is getting better every year. I just wish some of my other colleagues from MotoGP would come to the Forum to put in a more representative show for our sport. As always we can continue to learn from F1 and the other levels of motor sport, so for me it’s always a valuable time to be here.”
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