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F1 bids ta-ta to Tata

NEWS STORY
16/01/2020

Tata Communications has ended its partnership with Formula One after 8 years.

The first sign that there was a potential issue came on Wednesday, when the Tata logo went missing from the official F1 website.

It's understood that the deal ended on 31 December.

"We have decided to bring to a close our marketing partnership with F1 and explore other platforms that will allow us to showcase the full power of our digital services to our key customers," said a spokesperson for Tata Communications, according to Forbes.

"We started this partnership in 2012 with the mission to digitally transform the sport whilst raising awareness of our global networking expertise amongst our enterprise customers.

"Our eight-year F1 journey, spanning 150+ races, was all about driving innovation in the sport. Over the years, we have evolved our services portfolio and capabilities, and - as we had achieved what we set out to do - we feel it's the right time for us to conclude this marketing partnership."

The company, which was F1's 'official connectivity partner', stresses that it is still committed to its relationships with broadcasters such as Sky, and will continue "behind the scenes for now" with other F1 partners and customers.

Mercedes and Williams, both of whom were partnered with Tata, have dropped the Tata logo from their websites also.

Tata, which was originally brought on board by Bernie Ecclestone, was mainly involved in the sport's digital transformation of recent years, and among users has borne much of the blame for the various issues that have affected F1's streaming service and its timing app.

The use of the word "full" in terms of the company showcasing its power is telling, for Tata Communications is continuing its partnership with MotoGP which began in 2017.

Furthermore, on the heels of investment bank UBS and insurance giant Allianz, Tata marks the third major sponsor that F1 has lost since Liberty Media bought the sport in early 2017.

While the deals with Mercedes and Williams were both worth under 1m, according to Formula Money, Tata Communications was paying around 26m a year into the F1 coffers.

"We're proud of the fact that for eight years, we played a central role in the digital transformation of F1 and its entire ecosystem," added the spokesperson, "enabling the organisation that runs the sport, Formula 1, to innovate; helping the reigning world champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to win; and working with 20+ broadcasters to bring the action to millions of fans worldwide.

"Our work in F1 also paved the way for new customer relationships with leading broadcasters like Sky and Star Sports – to which we remain committed. It was a joy and privilege being part of the greatest sporting spectacle on the planet. While our marketing partnership concluded on 31st December 2019, we continue working with many of our F1 customers and partners behind the scenes for now."

The news, which comes ahead of Formula One Management announcing the TV and streaming viewer numbers for 2019, will come as a bitter blow to Chase Carey and hit team which has been seeking to add major partners and sponsors, not lose them.

In ending its partnerships with F1, Mercedes and Williams, Tata appears to be drawing a line under its involvement in the sport.

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1. Posted by PGS, 18/01/2020 8:55

"Tata were responsible for the design of a computer system at a former workplace. They screwed it up so badly it couldn't be used after it was implemented. So I'm not sure it's a "loss" to F1 if they were "helping" with F1 TV."

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2. Posted by Roli, 16/01/2020 20:51

"@Anthony Directionless? They wouldnt know how to read a compass or run a business successfully. WHat a mess.
"

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3. Posted by Anthony, 16/01/2020 17:07

"FOM do appear to be rather directionless at the moment...."

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