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AlphaTauri and Gundam in special tie-up for the Las Vegas GP

AlphaTauri has announced a tie-up with Gundam for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the 22nd round of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Watch: GUNDAM x SCUDERIA ALPHATAURI – FORMULA 1 Collaboration

For the 22nd round of the Formula 1 season in Las Vegas, AlphaTauri, the team to which Yuki Tsunoda belongs, has entered into a one-race partnership with Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. It has been revealed the AlphaTauri F1 car will feature decals of the RX-78-2 Gundam and the XVX-016 Gundam Aerial. 
 
It’s an unlikely collaboration between Japan’s legendary ‘Mobile Suit’ Gundam and the AlphaTauri F1 team, which is making remarkable progress thanks to the efforts of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, albeit just for one race, the Las Vegas GP. 

At this race, not only will Gundam decals be applied to the headrest of the AlphaTauri AT04, but a 10-foot Gundam statue will be placed near the team area, and a promotional video featuring Yuki Tsunoda wearing overalls inspired by Gundam will be released. Additionally, a plastic model of the RX-78-2 Gundam carrying the colours of the AlphaTauri will be displayed. Artwork featuring Tsunoda and the AlphaTauri-inspired RX-78-2 will also be produced. 
 
Karim Farghaly, senior vice-president of business development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America, commented: “Gundam, which is one of the longest-running science-fiction series in the world, is a fictional reflection of the real-life challenges faced by F1 drivers in each race, and we have always been able to connect to fans around the world with the themes of heroism, facing adversity and overcoming incredible odds. 

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

AlphaTauri x Gundam

AlphaTauri x Gundam

Photo by: SOTSU・SUNRISE/SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS

11


 
“Our partnership with Scuderia AlphaTauri is based on their vision and efforts to create something meaningful and memorable for both F1 fans and Gundam fans by bringing Gundam to the inaugural Las Vegas GP.” 
 
Fabian Wrabetz, AlphaTauri’s director of marketing and communications, also commented: “Gundam is recognised globally and loved by enthusiastic fans all around the world. We embrace the spirit of Gundam and we are delighted to welcome them as partners for the 2023 Las Vegas GP. 
 
“This collaboration will be a memorable one, featuring activations both on- and off-track that will encourage fan participation in a fun and exciting way.” 
 
AlphaTauri is coming off a run of three successive races of scoring points. Its performance is definitely improving. The question of whether there be further progress at the Las Vegas GP, where the tie-up with Gundam is taking place, will surely be something that attracts attention not only from F1 fans, but from all over the world. 

To get a better understanding of Gundam's tie-up with AlphaTauri, we caught up with Antonio Herbst, Head of Brand Development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. Herbst explained how Gundam and AlphaTauri are the perfect fit, with the hype surrounding the Las Vegas GP providing a great opportunity to promote their new partnership. 

Q: What kind of image do you have for F1? 

F1 is one of the most unique sports on the planet – a small group of extremely talented drivers are tasked with driving incredibly fast race cars made by some of the best engineers and designers on earth across complex circuits around the world 23 times a year, give or take a few. It has a rich history with legends in every era, and continues to grow as more and more fans get involved with the sport. It’s also one of the biggest sports brands in the world, and the ambition of Formula 1 to expand its reach across the globe is second to none. Personally, it is a sport I’ve followed since I was very young, and had the pleasure of witnessing incredible legends being made, including Ayrton Senna.  

Q: Why did you decide to collaborate with F1? 

We believe GUNDAM has a good thematic fit with the sport. GUNDAM is about heroism, standing up to adversity, overcoming tremendous odds, and other elements that are similar to some of the challenges F1 drivers encounter every race. The GUNDAM series started as an anime but has grown to a global brand with film, animated series, toys and collectibles, model kits, games, amusement and more, allowing us to connect with fans in several ways. GUNDAM is growing now more than ever, in part due to renewed efforts to expand awareness of it across the globe. It is the right time, and collaborating with Scuderia AlphaTauri allows everyone, including the fans to make the most out of this opportunity. 

Q: Among the many F1 teams/drivers, why did you decide to collaborate with AlphaTauri and Yuki Tsunoda? 

GUNDAM strives to connect with fans on multiple touchpoints by utilizing Bandai Namco’s strength in coordinating both physical and digital, with a wide range of products and services as the outlet. With that in mind, the fit with Scuderia AlphaTauri was great right away. The team was very open to our creative ideas and went beyond  standard co-branding, working together to create something experiential and layered. From adding several GUNDAM elements to the garage to working with us on creating an SAT-branded GUNDAM model kit and brainstorming how to use it, they’ve been an amazing partner. The team itself is one of great legacy, having shaped some of the best drivers while making its own way through the field of teams competing in F1. Yuki Tsunoda is great, absolutely real with his passion and personality. Working with him allows us to really connect with fans in both Americas and Japan, and this bond goes deeper: we are watching Yuki going through his development and success journey in Formula 1, like a GUNDAM pilot would! 

Q: What do you expect from Mr. Tsunoda and the team that carries the image of GUNDAM? 

First of all, there is more to come, and we hope to continue to work closely together with Scuderia AlphaTauri to surprise and delight fans as we get nearer the race. We are cheering for the best outcome as always, and some points would be awesome. We are expecting for them to continue doing what they are currently excelling at: connecting with fans in authentic and interesting ways. 

Q: Please tell us why you decided to collaborate at the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. 

Like many others, we’ve taken notice of how Formula 1 has grown since the “Drive to Survive” series debuted. The inaugural Miami race last year proved that American F1 Grand Prixes are presenting increasingly interesting new opportunities for us as marketers to pursue. As the sport makes gains here, we’ve seen the teams creating more touchpoints with the fans, and for us Las Vegas made the most sense as the place to kick off this partnership, especially when we found the right team to collaborate with. Scuderia AlphaTauri was invaluable in this part when it came to brainstorming ideas, and we have plenty of non-traditional things planned for the LVGP, from putting several 2-meter GUNDAM statues in the SAT garage to having pop-up GUNDAM Base stores around Las Vegas during the race weekend. 

Q: What kind of benefits or effect do you hope from this collaboration? 

We went out of our comfort zone to find the right way to acknowledge and celebrate racing, anime and GUNDAM fans, as we believed the overlap would be big enough to justify the risks. Fortunately, by all appearances, that seems to be the case. We wanted to give current fans of either GUNDAM, Scuderia AlphaTauri or Formula 1 something to be excited about. We also look at this as a growth opportunity for GUNDAM, with learnings to help us better show games, animation and collectibles to connect with fans in the future. In order to have GUNDAM be recognized more in the Americas, bringing Scuderia AlphaTauri and racing fans into the fold has been a really promising step. Whether it’s watching the latest shows or reliving the earlier series from the 80s, 90s, or 00s, we want people to know that it’s a great time to be a GUNDAM fan anywhere in the world. 

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