Monday 25th November saw Renault F1 open their doors to the press. An event which aimed to show their commitment to esports and also use it to announce an extension to their partnership with Team Vitality.
Their base at Enstone in Oxfordshire, previously the home of the title-winning Benetton Team during the 1990’s and 2000’s, houses some 700 people as the car manufacturers growth in Formula One as they aim to break to top three stranglehold on the sport.
A lot has changed since those Flavio Briatore days, with modern technology at the core of their development, including a real-time analysis hub. Bustling on race weekends, the team study both driver and car performance to maximise chances of everything coming together during the race.
During the presentations, the main news was the announcement by François Renard (EVP, Global Marketing Groupe Renault) and Nicolas Maurer (CEO, Team Vitality) about the extension of the current esports partnership with Team Vitality.
Their focus for 2020-21 will be built around international expansion (something both organisations are targeting), cross universes (bringing esports fans into the Renault universe and vice versa) and building on a shared passion for performance.
Following the announcement, press were given a tour around the F1 facilities, taking in the race analysis hub before going onto the human performance centre. Here, they could see how the esports drivers (or pilots as Francois calls them) are making the most out of their facilities. Working with specialist trainers to ensure they are in peak physical health for races, and also correct any postural issues that gamers face, before they become a problem later down the line.
After the main event, we had the opportunity to speak with Renault F1 Commercial Director, Antoine Magnan, for the Something Quite New podcast. We discussed what the partnership extension means for Renault, along with how they will take on the challenge of new titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite and CS:GO as they currently only compete in F1 and Rocket League.
Antoine also expanded on a comment made during his presentation about seeing sponsorship as a straight cash deal being ‘dead’, and what that means for the F1 and esports teams.
You can hear our full conversation on the Anchor player below, or by finding Something Quite New on your favourite podcast platform.
His view on sponsorship is that it needs to be based on shared values, as is the case with Team Vitality. Renault are not just a name-badge sponsor, but an integrated partner. The same can be said for partnerships such as their one with Microsoft, where the technical know-how and technological development they have makes it an obvious fit. Both are for F1 and esports.
Thanks to Renault for the invitation and Guillaume Vergnas for his kind hospitality. You’ll be able to hear a podcast with Guillaume, who has been involved right from the start on the esports project, very soon.
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