Some very exciting news this evening, as it was announced that the GP2 Series is being re-named as the FIA Formula 2 Championship, and this means there is a lot of potential for some great new branding and marketing.
Firstly, the name change is a no-brainer. For the casual fan it could get confusing trying to work out what the ladder is on the way to Formula 1, with F3 and GP3 going to GP2 and then back to Formula 1. It’s messy, and this is a key step in streamlining the names and creating a clear path to F1, which started last year lower down the ranks with National F4 championships being introduced in twelve countries.
The new naming agreement between the FIA and Liberty Media (who through their F1 Commercial Rights acquisition also control the rights to GP2 and GP3) further proves the success of the new management under Chase Carey, and shows exactly why it was right for Bernie Ecclestone to go. I’d argue that this agreement shows how the FIA and Liberty Media can do business together, after a rather rocky period with Ecclestone in recent years.
GP2 and GP3 are a part of the F1 support race package, and Ecclestone controlled all this for years. The GP3 championship in particular is in direct competition against the FIA F3 championship, and it doesn’t make sense to have 2 championships doing effectively the same thing. Why not just have the one? Carey has recognised this, and he’s acting on it quickly and efficiently. I would expect FIA F3 and GP3 to merge within the next 2 or 3 years, and thus we’ll have the clear progression of National F4, F3, F2 and F1.
Back to the new F2 announcement, and I’m wondering what sort of branding and marketing treatment the new championship will receive. We got the first glimpse of this today with the new logo revealed, as you can see above. It’s simple and effective, and follows the same style as the FIA F3 European Championship logo.
It’s interesting to note that the F2 logo continues with the same colours used in the GP2 branding, of dark and light blue. When FIA F3 and GP3 eventually merge, I expect the same will be done and red and black will be used. These will all work well as plain white watermarks on the TV coverage as well.
Formula 2 has come and gone through the last 25 years or so. In the mid 1990s, Formula 3000 was created to take the place of the failing F2 championship. Then in 2005, GP2 took the place of F3000. There was an attempt at an F2 championship back in 2009, co-run by Jonathan Palmer, but that flopped in 2012. It would be good to have F2 here for the long run, and it will only do the brand well if that happens.
Understandably, the F2 website and social media profiles are still based around the GP2 style, as the announcement was made just over an hour ago. The GP2 website has been long overdue a redesign, and I hope the new name will bring about a modern change.
For sponsorship, F2 will use the same brands as used in F1, and I doubt any exclusive sponsors will join the championship. In terms of social media, GP2 has always been very relaxed and open with the fans, and I hope this remains the same going forward. I fear that with new FIA backing it will become more corporate, much like the F1 social media accounts. Only time will tell.
Exciting times are ahead though for FIA Formula 2. I can’t wait to see how the championship develops, and any key developments to the F2 brand will of course be documented on the blog and on the #VISCOMF1 social media channels, available on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.