Amul and Sauber Associate For The Indian Grand Prix

The buildup to the Indian Grand Prix is picking up traction and so are sponsors / advertisers who are rushing to have a share of the Formula1 pie when it comes to India later this month.

After Airtel (who have the naming rights – Airtel Indian Grand Prix), Mercedes, Mahindra and Hero Motors (Read: Hero Motors To Sponsor Narain Karthikeyan For The Indian Grand Prix) we now have India’s best known and consumed FMCG brand Amul bite the Formula1 bait.

Amul and Sauber Motorsport announced their association last week. This deal will be yet another one-race deal for the Indian Grand Prix which will see Amul get branding on the car’s rear wing and driver’s helmets. By my knowledge and calculations, the deal would have cost the Indian dairy brand a little over 100,000 Euros (~ Rs. 68 lakhs). An inexpensive way to associate with the sport! The association works well for Sauber as it injects some much needed cash in the team to develop their 2011 car further. This deal and branding won’t replace any existing sponsor, as Sauber’s current rear wing has the team’s name on it (means they’ve not yet sold that sponsorship space).

The attributes that attracted Amul towards Formula1 were technology (they are tech-heavy for their daily production needs), innovation, team work and health. This association is a first for a food brand to be associated with on-car branding in the sport. My preliminary research also suggests that Amul are planning on launching co-branded products as a build up to the race. If this is true, then after the Force India – Doublemint chewing gum packs, this would be one of the few F1 co-branded products in the country.

This association does come to me as a surprise as I was expecting only the Indian elements in the sport (Narain, Karun and Force India) to sign up Indian brands for the Indian Grand Prix. However, there is a small Indian connect in the Sauber F1 team and that is of their Chief Executive, Monisha Kaltenborn, who is of Indian origin and was brought up in Dehradun. The bigger question to me is ‘why Amul chose Sauber and not any of the Indian elements in the sport’.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

7 comments On Amul and Sauber Associate For The Indian Grand Prix

  • Peter Sauber not only has eye for talented drivers, but also has an eye for talented technical and marketing people. The team has shown a good turn around since Valencia’10 after James Key joined the team from Force India. Monisha Kaltenborn who has been associated with the team since the RedBull-Sauber days, is one smart brain when it comes to marketing the team and getting sponsors aboard.
    As a lifelong Williams fan, I have voiced out my concerns that Williams have not been able to attract similar talent on technical and marketing front.
    Adam Parr taking control of strategic decision making at Williams and Monisha doing the same in Sauber has happened around same period and the direction in which the two teams are headed, gives me more confidence about Sauber than my own team 🙁

  • For the question – ‘why Amul chose Sauber and not any of the Indian elements in the sport’?
    It is a brilliant strategy by Amul.
    Sauber is a Swiss based empire. And Swiss based cuisine consists of 60% of diary products & produce. So, perhaps Amul is looking for a global expansion program where they can export quality diary products to Switzerland, which is actually a highly enticing market for diary products. Although, Amul has world presence in other countries, they have not set foot in the European nation, so that could be it. Just a hunch.
    But vice versa, makes no sense though.

    • Well, in my view, it was a flop-show, the deal. It was because Amul wanted a slice of the inaugural F1 action in India in 2011 but didn’t address why they wanted it and what their objective was. Sauber was the cheapest available option.
      As for the Swiss logic, great thought, but I don’t think they explored that route (or didn’t go public about it). Had there been a business requirement behind the sponsorship, they would have continued it in 2012 and done far more tom-tom-ing about it. In my view, money well wasted…

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