Formula crossover – The times motorsport mixed with other sports


In the music world, it is very common for artists to collaborate with each other, creating unique crossover tracks that combine their unique qualities together. It also happens in the world of movies and TV shows, such as the time The Simpsons featured Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian from the show 24. The term “collab” has also fallen into common use in recent years as many social media personalities come together to create content together to expand their audiences. 

But it isn’t just the arts where such collaborations can take place; the world of motorsport is no stranger to crossovers too. 

Sometimes these have been where different categories of racing have partnered in some way, such as a demonstration where drivers swap cars or organising jointly-hosted events. Other times, these collaborations have been with other sports. Some you may remember, while others are mostly forgotten. 

Poker and Formula 1

Poker is a sport for thrill seekers, which makes a partnership between PokerStars and the Red Bull Formula 1 team the ideal pairing. Beginning in 2022, the partnership saw PokerStars branding appearing on the Austrian team’s cars for most of the season. 

It also involved a series of jointly-branded poker tournaments, events, and promotions throughout 2022 that players on the PokerStars platform could get involved in. The two organisations ended the year with one of their biggest collaborations yet, an end-of-season poker tournament. 

This spectacular competition took place in early December 2022 at Red Bull’s event space in Milton Keynes and saw players sitting at tables while surrounded by the back catalogue of its cars throughout its time in Formula 1. It was kicked off with a Q&A session with Team Principal Christian Horner before several legendary players stepped up to play. 

Following the success of this partnership between PokerStars and Red Bull in 2022, the two brands will be teaming up again in 2023. 

The #38 Jacki Chan Racing Oreca LMP2 driven by Ho-Pin Tung of China, Thomas Laurent of France and Oliver Jarvis of the UK races through the Porsche Curves during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the third round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France on June 18, 2017. | Dean Treml / Red Bull Content Pool

Football and Formula 1

You might expect there to be almost nothing in common between football and Formula 1. After all, one is played by running around a field, while the other involves racing incredibly complex machinery around a purpose-built circuit. 

This hasn’t stopped the two worlds from coming together in one form or another on more than one occasion. 

The first was a similar crossover to the Red Bull-PokerStars deal that saw Chelsea Football Club place its logo on the engine covers of Sauber F1 (now Alfa Romeo) cars during the 2012 season. In addition to that, Sauber F1 logos were displayed on the advertising boards around the Stamford Bridge stadium during games. 

This was the first of its kind and was designed to allow the two teams to share their expertise in both “sporting and commercial topics”, though it’s not clear what benefits this provided for either side before the partnership ended. 

Superleague Formula

While the Chelsea-Sauber deal was the first football sponsorship agreement in Formula 1, it wasn’t the first time someone attempted to bring football and motorsport together. A previous attempt was Superleague Formula, a single-seater motorsport category that launched in 2008 and described itself as “football at 300 km/h”. 

While there were no balls being kicked around Donnington Park for the first race in 2008, it did feature teams that represented football clubs. The list of teams was a prestigious one and included Liverpool FC, Rangers FC, Tottenham Hotspur, Atlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, and FC Porto. 

Many famous drivers were added to the lineups during the four seasons of Superleague Formula, including Enrique Bernoldi, Sebastien Bourdais, and Narain Karthikeyan. 

For the final year, some of the teams were set up to represent countries rather than football clubs, such as Team New Zealand, Team Japan, and Team Netherlands. This was an attempt to build up a more national following. 

However, this wasn’t enough to make this football and motorsport crossover a sustainable affair. Over the four seasons, many of the original teams dropped out of the competition, with only a handful of the original entrants making it to the final championship in 2011. 

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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