At RTR we believe that great partnerships must be formed from sponsorship deals- DHL and F1 are a great example of that as they’ve collaborated to achieve remarkable growth.
In 2021, DHL and F1 renewed a partnership which will see them remain the sport’s Official Logistics Partner, a title they have had since 2004. With what is now a nearly 20 year old relationship, it is clear to see that the two brands have found mutual benefits, but what are they? DHL are no ordinary sponsor for F1, they are actually a very functional brand to be partnered with, as their expertise in delivery services make them vital for the transport of F1 infrastructure around the globe. On the other hand, shipping around the F1 circus is undoubtedly a complicated process for the German brand… it certainly requires more planning than a simple letter. In this article all the different features of this relationship will be explored, giving an insight into one of F1’s most important partnerships.
DHL’s role in logistics
Logistics is a key factor in the F1 season, but its importance may be overlooked by the casual fan. It is absolutely vital that equipment, fuel, and obviously the cars, are transported between events with efficiency, and the tight F1 calendar means this task can only be carried out by the best of the best. A further complication is of course the distances between the different races- for instance, the 2023 season kicked off in March with races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, before everything had to be shipped across the Indian ocean to Australia for the Australian Grand Prix on the 2nd of April.
As F1 has grown to become a global sport, the importance of DHL’s role as the logistics partner has grown too. The 2023 season has already seen races in 3 different continents, but DHL have overseen the smooth transportation of the infrastructure between the different events. To put the size of the task into context, total F1 freight consists of 10,000 kg of electronics and 40-50 tons of freight (e.g cars) per team, as well as 150,000 kg of broadcast media equipment.
Watch how DHL transported the entire F1 infrastructure from the Austin GP to Mexico City (1504km!) in just 5 days during the 2022 season.
F1 wouldn’t be able to find a more reliable logistics partner than DHL, as the brand prides itself on the quick and efficient transport of goods. Their values have allowed for a great relationship to be formed, as Arjan Sissing, Global Head of Brand Marketing at DHL Group, said, ‘For more than four decades, our common values connect us with each other and made it possible to win any logistics races around the world, before the first tires touch the track. We are looking forward to defend our title in each of these races between the races.’
DHL can be described as the ‘unsung heroes’ of the F1 season, as without their work, the ever-expanding F1 calendar wouldn’t be possible.
How are DHL involved in a race weekend?
DHL’s role in F1 doesn’t end at logistics, as they are also involved in the more technical side of races. DHL are also the official sponsors of the Fastest Lap Award, and the Fastest Pit Stop Award. The Fastest Lap Award is awarded to the driver with the highest accumulation of Grand Prix fastest laps throughout the season. Lewis Hamilton currently has the record of the most DHL Fastest Lap Awards with 6 trophies, whilst the current holder is Max Verstappen. On the other hand, The Fastest Pit Stop Award sheds light on the work done by the racing teams, and it is awarded to the team who set the most ‘fastest pit stops’ in the season.
These awards help underline the special relationship between DHL and F1 as winners pose with their trophy in front of the DHL logo, which offers obvious commercial benefits to the brand. This is a key feature of the partnership, and it would be pretty difficult for fans not to notice the iconic DHL logo when watching races, as their branding can be seen trackside and more prominently in the pit lane. The uniqueness of this partnership is highlighted by the fact that as DHL continue to facilitate the global growth of F1, both brands will reap the benefits as greater F1 coverage means greater visibility of the DHL logo.
In recent years, Esports has become a phenomenon, and it will undoubtedly continue to reach new heights in the coming years. DHL has helped ensure that F1 doesn’t miss out on this growth as they became the first official partner of the F1 Esports Series in 2018. The series incorporates the official F1 video game, and offers a fun supplement to the regular F1 season- during the coronavirus pandemic, current F1 drivers like Charles Leclerc and George Russell even competed in a virtual Grand Prix.
The F1 Esports Series has added a new dimension to F1, and with new teams joining each year, it will be exciting to see how the series continues to develop- year on year, they continue to smash their previous viewership records. DHL will of course be involved every step of the way, and their involvement further emphasises the passion the German brand has for F1.
DHL have also helped to elevate the F1 fan experience by delivering Fan Festivals on race weekends. These Fan Festivals have helped transform race weekends into events that cater to everyone’s needs, with music and entertainment being accompanied by live car runs and driver interviews. They are part of an initiative by F1 to engage different demographics and to help propel them in new markets.
There is no doubt that the DHL-F1 relationship will continue to flourish and it will be exciting to see what comes next from the two brands, as their aligned values have created in a model partnership for those interested in getting involved in sports sponsorship.
Pictures from the top: European Air Transport Leipzig - Boeing 757-23APF , Creative-Commons-Licence CC BY-SA 4.0. Steve_Melnyk, F1 Paddock Access, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.