Superleague Formula may not have been the success its founders had hoped for, but that has not stopped football and motorsport coming together as Sauber finally reveals the intent behind some cryptic messages seen on its cars at recent grands prix.
The engine cover of the two Sauber C31s bore the inscriptions 'Out of the Blue' and 'True Blue' at the Chinese and Bahrain grands prix and, curiosity suitably aroused, the Swiss team has now confirmed that they were a taster for a 'new and innovative partnership' with British Premier League outfit Chelsea FC. The club's famous logo will appear on the cars for the first time at the fortcoming Spanish Grand Prix.
At team level, the new partnership focuses on ways to enhance performance in both business and sporting matters. In concrete terms, this includes the sale of merchandise and exchange of knowledge in the area of sport science. Both partners will support each other by featuring the other partner's logo and thus benefit from a significant market presence outside their original sport.
Chelsea FC will present the Sauber F1 Team logo at home matches on advertising boards at the stadium and on interview walls, and Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn believes that teamining up with the 2012 Champions League finalists will be useful to both parties.
“A partnership like this between F1 and football has never existed before in this form, yet there are numerous commonalities and possible synergies," she noted, "In either case, we are talking about team sport at the highest – and international – level.
"The Sauber F1 Team and Chelsea FC are dealing with many of the same sporting and commercial topics and we want to strengthen each other in these areas. We are looking forward to exploiting these opportunities, and we congratulate Chelsea on making it to the final of the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, the football club benefits from F1's television reach which, even compared with the Premier League, is much higher and more international. Particularly in Asia, F1 enjoys enormous TV presence and, not least thanks to Sergio Pérez, is currently captivating more and more fans in Latin America as well.
Accordingly, the combination of both platforms at the sponsoring level is highly attractive especially for international brands. In addition, existing sponsors of both partners profit from joint events, and Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay admitted that Sauber provided the ideal, if somewhat unlikely, ally.
“This is an innovative partnership that will see a football club link up with an F1 team like never before, bringing together two of the world's biggest sports and uniting our fans," he claimed, "We felt that this Swiss team, the fourth oldest of the existing teams, reflects our own ideals perfectly.