Skip to main content

When F1 meets football: Sauber joins forces with Chelsea FC

April 30, 2012 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
The new Sauber cars with Chelsea FC branding will be revealed at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The new Sauber cars with Chelsea FC branding will be revealed at the Spanish Grand Prix.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sauber F1 cars bear Chelsea FC "teasers" at China and Bahrain grands prix
  • The sports organizations join forces in a ground-breaking marketing partnership
  • They hope to appeal to an international audience and boost sponsorship
  • Deal includes shared merchandise sales, advertising space and sports scientists

(CNN) -- The mystery behind the peculiar inscriptions "Out of the Blue" and "True Blue" which first appeared on Sauber engine covers at the Chinese Grand Prix has finally been revealed.

The Swiss Formula One team has joined forces with English football club Chelsea in an innovative marketing ploy aimed at attracting a global audience -- and boost sponsorship.

It's the first such partnership between the sports, and from next week's Spanish Grand Prix all Sauber cars will be emblazoned with the slogan "Welcome Chelsea FC."

Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, already has an international fanbase but can now also capitalize on the following of Sauber's drivers -- Mexican Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi of Japan.

Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model. Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model.
In the hot seat
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
The Silver Arrow rises again The Silver Arrow rises again
Susie Wolff, 29, joined Williams F1 as a development driver in April. Susie Wolff, 29, joined Williams F1 as a development driver in April.
Start your engines
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
Formula One\'s Susie Wolff Formula One's Susie Wolff

Likewise, the Sauber logo will soon be plastered on advertising boards at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium in London and on walls in the club's interview areas.

The multi-million-dollar organizations will share merchandise sales, advertising space and even sports scientists.

"A partnership like this between Formula One and football has never existed before in this form, yet there are numerous commonalities and possible synergies. In either case we are talking about team sport at the highest -- and international -- level," said Sauber chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn.

"The Sauber F1 team and Chelsea FC are dealing with many of the same sporting and commercial topics and we want to strengthen each other in these areas. We are looking forward to exploiting these opportunities."

F1 fans will get their first live glimpse of the new Sauber C3Is stamped with the Chelsea logo at the Circuit De Catalunya from May 11-13.

This partnership will benefit us both greatly, with the potential to create unique commercial opportunities
Ron Gourlay, Chelsea FC chief executive

"We felt that this Swiss team, the fourth oldest of the existing teams, reflects our own ideals perfectly," Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said.

"In a year when Chelsea celebrates 20 seasons as a Premier League team, Sauber does so as a Formula One team. We share many philosophies when it comes to how the respective organizations are run, from the development of young talent to constantly striving for success.

"Sauber's philosophy towards grassroots development has produced some of the best drivers in F1, which mirrors our dedication to develop promising young football talent through our academy.

Abramovich has bankrolled Chelsea since buying it in 2003, but the club now has to start paying its own way under European football's new financial fair play rules.

"This partnership will benefit us both greatly, with the potential to create unique commercial opportunities," Gourlay said.

"It is a shared vision to unite the two most attractive sports in the world."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
ADVERTISEMENT