Liberty Media has further put their stamp on Formula 1 after unveiling a new logo which, Commercial Director Sean Bratches says, is the start of a wider overhaul of the sport's branding for 2018.
The design was revealed on the podium following the season finale in Abu Dhabi, won by Valtteri Bottas, but has received a largely negative reaction from fans with even the top three drivers from Sunday's race admitting they prefer the old design.
Nevertheless, with the current F1 owners keen to show they are modernising the sport, Bratches defended the decision insisting it was part of that process of adapting the brand to today's technological demands.
"We thought this was an opportune time to outline what we feel is a mark that will take us into the future," he said. "We are going to relaunch the brand and introduce a new graphics package for our television production.
"We hold in high regard the incumbent mark, it's served Formula 1 extremely well for the past 23 years but in terms of where we're taking the business and our vision for the business, the negative space in the '1' doesn't come through candidly in digital.
"In fact, if I had marked or polled the number of people who I have met and discussed the mark since I've gotten here, many of them went years and years not understanding that the invisible space between the left and the right was actually a '1.' So we wanted to keep it simple and clear, and I think that's important for our digital space."
The former ESPN executive also believes re-design is in keeping with the vision Liberty has for F1 going forward.
"We are trying to reposition Formula 1 from a purely motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand with the heart and soul of a racecar driver in the middle of it," he said. "I think your brand and your mark represents the spirit of where you're going; it's an identifier for consumers in terms of how they represent the company or the brand.
"The number of brands, particularly in this day and age, who are trying to simplify their mark to enter the digital space. If you look at Starbucks as an example, or Coca-Cola, which has taken the condensation off its logo to enter digital. We felt we had to go a little bit further to re-tool it to position us on a going forward basis."
Marketing Director Ellie Norman claimed the desires of the fans acted as inspiration for the new logo and sees great potential in helping increase the brand recognition going forward.
"Pretty simply, the fans want to get back to racing and what racing means to fans, and that's about the realness of it, the grittiness, the human element, and that kind of wheel-to-wheel racing," she said.
"Wieden and Kennedy took that inspiration and have created this logo. It takes inspiration from the low-profile shape of the car, two cars crossing a finish line and it is incredibly bold and simple. But as we apply this in today's kind of market and being mobile and digital led, we have much more flexibility and versatility with this logo.
"Another important factor was looking at motorsport, and motorsport is definitely sort of a segment which is full of logo upon logo. So we need to make sure this logo works alongside the team logos, our partners logos, promoters, etc."
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