Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen has expressed his happiness at signing a sponsorship deal with video game juggernaut EA Sports.
Verstappen, who comes into the year as defending F1 champion, penned a contract with EA Sports just days before the launch of Red Bull’s RB19 in New York City, with the company’s logo appearing on the front of his 2023 helmet.
When speaking to Total-Motorsport.com and other selected media outlets, Verstappen discussed how the deal between the parties came about and the hope he could bring plenty of his ideas to the table.
“It’s an amazing brand,” said Verstappen. “I am very involved in sim racing myself. EA has the F1 game. That’s one thing. But I also have a lot of ideas on my mind about potential other stuff as well that we could do together.
“These are still early days. I mean, we just signed the agreement. I’m just very happy to be a part of such an amazing brand. Initially, it has to do, of course, with the F1 game being more prominent.
“Time will tell, of course, where it leads up to, but it’s a really cool brand. They’re very open-minded; they have so many games under them that there are endless possibilities.”
History of Formula 1 drivers and video games
Verstappen isn’t the first driver to partner with a video games company as several world champions have lent their likeness or expertise to a racing game.
Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell were the first drivers to licence their names, with Senna endorsing and assisting the developers of the famous Super Monaco GP 2.
Mansell’s game Nigel Mansell’s world championship racing was released for the Amiga console, and three years later, the Brit featured in the ‘Formula 1’ game based around the 1995 season.
In 2002 Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve resumed their rivalry, this time on the console, with Schumacher lending his likeness to a game based around go-karts whilst Villeneuve’s game was based around a futuristic racing series.
Villeneuve had a problematic relationship with video games companies as he failed to feature in any Formula 1 game between 1996-1998 due to him owning his image rights forcing developers to replace him with the fictional John Newhouse.
In recent years the popular Gran Turismo franchise has included likenesses and downloadable content, which featured Senna, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s cars and likeness.
Hamilton also helped develop the game and placed the company’s logos on his team caps.