A great way to lose money: that’s how Hyundai views Formula 1, regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport.
Speaking at a media event to showcase its new N performance sub-brand, its boss, Albert Biermann, was scathing of F1’s ability to shed money.
“Formula 1 is like burning money,” says Biermann. “There are more interesting ways of burning money.”
Top F1 teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull each spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on the sport.
While it can be a fantastic marketing tool – its Ferrari’s prime marketing spend and has helped boost the brand image of Mercedes-AMG – it can also backfire.
Just ask Honda, which is currently pumping hundreds of millions into F1 as an engine supplier only to post poor results and cop heavy criticism on reliability and performance.
Toyota, too, struggled in F1, failing to achieve its goal of winning a championship.
However, despite shunning F1, Hyundai sees other forms of motorsport as a crucial component of its big task to grow its upcoming N sub-brand.
“It’s essential to have that link to the high emotional racing environment, this is why we initiated the TCR project,” Bierman says of the project to develop a car to race in the Touring Car Racing championship. “TCR is developing nicely into a global racing platform and this is exactly what we need, we need that race car out there.”
Years ago Hyundai was reported to be in talks with F1, however, nothing eventuated.