Toto Wolff – an Austrian billionaire and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team – thinks the collapse of crypto exchange FTX could harm every Formula 1 organization.
The trading venue served as one of Mercedes’ sponsors while its logo was visible on the cars driven by Lewis Hamilton and George Russel. However, the squad suspended the agreement after FTX’s severe issues came to light in the middle of November.
‘A Huge Damper for the Entire Industry’
FTX’s immense decay that happened last month still resonates loud across various sectors. In a recent interview, Wolff argued that the event could spark troubles in each Formula 1 team since they are all somehow connected to the cryptocurrency industry:
“Every team has sponsors like that, and so does the Formula 1 organization as such. So everyone would be affected.”
Mercedes and FTX inked a sponsorship deal last year to promote the trading venue and introduce an NFT collection for fans. The F1 team initially supported its partner upon seeing its first signs of issues in November and vowed to keep the FTX logo on its cars. However, it terminated all ties with the exchange shortly before the latter’s bankruptcy protection filing.
“As a first step, we have suspended our partnership agreement with FTX. This means the company will no longer appear on our race car and other branded assets from this weekend. We will continue to monitor closely the situation as it evolves,” Mercedes announced.
Wolff, who has displayed himself as a strong proponent of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, said FTX seemed like a “solid company” prior to its catastrophe. He believes its bankruptcy is a “huge damper not only for us but for the entire crypto industry,” while the “deficit of eight billion dollars” shows the necessity of pertinent rules in the sector.
Sponsorship Deals in Formula 1
Arguably the most successful team in F1’s history – Ferrari – partnered last year with the Swiss technology company – Velas Network AG – to create NFTs for its fans.
Red Bull Racing – the reigning champion Max Verstappen’s team – inked a $150 million deal with the crypto platform Bybit in February. The venue serves as the Principal Team Partner of the racing squad, guides its NFT initiatives, promotes fan tokens, and provides financial inclusion for women in the blockchain space.
McLaren Racing also dipped its toes, joining forces with the crypto exchange OKX. The latter became the largest sponsor of the team.
For its part, CryptoCom is the Global Partner of Formula 1, and its logo is visible on every circuit.