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Opinion

The lucrative deal that points to F1 Academy’s health

MARK GALLAGHER explains why the introduction of the Charlotte Tilbury brands bodes well for the future of the F1 Academy

Lola Lovinfosse (FRA, Rodin Motorsport)

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Autosport Business

Covering industry news and insight into the business of motorsport

While Formula 1’s launch season tends to be awash with commentary about car concepts, masked innovations and garish liveries, some of
us pore over the thing that fuels our sport. Money,
and more precisely who has secured which
sponsor and for how much.

Japanese industrial giant Komatsu turning up on the side of the Williams was one example, another the decision by Italian beer Peroni to shift allegiance from Aston Martin to Ferrari. Stake with its Kick Saubers, and the Visa Cash App team, which once enjoyed more credibility when known as Minardi, grabbed the headlines. But there was so much more to unpick from across F1’s commercial landscape.

Then a press release landed which announced that the F1 Academy had signed Charlotte Tilbury. “Is she quick?” I wondered, turning to Google. Meanwhile the office WhatsApp group intervened.

“How amazing is this?” said Sophie.

“OMG,” replied Debbie.

“Love her products,” enthused Jill.

I apologise to our female readers for what comes next, as I have to admit I did the one thing someone of my age and gender does when faced with his own ignorance. I asked my wife who Charlotte Tilbury is.

Tilbury's business lends its support to Rodin driver Lola Lovinfosse in F1 Academy and is a notable addition to the motorsport sponsorship landscape

Tilbury's business lends its support to Rodin driver Lola Lovinfosse in F1 Academy and is a notable addition to the motorsport sponsorship landscape

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

If you’re a guy reading this and you know all about Charlotte Tilbury, well done, but for the rest of you it’s worth reading on. For the deal between the F1 Academy and the Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics brand may be one of the more important sponsorship deals to have come motorsport’s way in quite some time.

Let us be clear, a lack of sponsorship was one of the reasons W Series went to the wall. Despite worthy statements from many companies involved in F1 about support for gender diversity and inclusion, very few put their hands in their pockets when Catherine Bond Muir and her team came calling. Charlotte Tilbury has changed all of that, and for those of us who believe that the benefits of sponsorship go far beyond the money, 
it’s a potential game-changer.

The eponymous brand was founded by British make-up artist and beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury in 2012 and her business has become a global phenomenon. She initially built a strong following on YouTube thanks to her compelling make-up tutorials. They’re fascinating to watch, so I unexpectedly find myself knowing the difference between foundation, concealer and a contour wand.

Tilbury is putting the weight of her business empire behind the Susie Wolff-operated F1 Academy at an important time in its development

Launching her brand at London’s Selfridges store in 2013, Tilbury’s company began to soar, with a flagship store opening in Covent Garden in 2015. In 2020 she sold a majority stake to Spanish fashion and fragrance company Puig, a deal which valued Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics
at £1.3billion.

Described by British supermodel Kate Moss as “a force of nature”, Tilbury is that rare beast in the world of business. A woman who has founded, scaled and runs a globally successful company, and she’s determined to use her experience and strength as an entrepreneur to help other women. Hence the F1 Academy deal.

It’s not F1’s first deal with a cosmetics brand, of course, Yardley having backed BRM in 1971 and 1972 before switching to McLaren. There have been more since.

This time things are very different: Tilbury is putting the weight of her business empire behind the Susie Wolff-operated F1 Academy at an important time in its development. I will be surprised if we don’t see other brands follow suit.

Will F1 Academy be successful in luring more notable sponsors to its championship?

Will F1 Academy be successful in luring more notable sponsors to its championship?

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

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