For a team which exudes sophistication in its PR and a trackside operation so slick that its reminiscent of superconductivity, the Red Bull Racing car launch in New York yesterday represented none of these qualities.
The transatlantic feed was on a significant time delay, so even the Sky Sports F1 feed was way behind the tweets of those present who for European watchers made the ‘reveals’ first.
Red Bull F1 car launch presenters bizarre moments
Marty Smith co-hosted the event with Giselle Zarur who are both professional sports presenters, though at times you would never know this.
Zarur joined Mexican media company Televisa in 2010 and made a reputation for herself covering the Formula One seasons. She left under a cloud in 2018, though denied she was sacked and popped up in Los Angeles working for Fox Deportes reporting on Liga MX from Mexico.
During the introduction of Daniel Ricciardo, Zarur made an awkward announcement and called the Aussie driver, “Daniel Ritardo”, then smiled thinly.
Sponsorship blitz as Castore hits the dance floor
In another bizarre moment she tried to dance with Ricciardo as she asked him about the flexibility of the newly launched team wear he was wearing from the new team sponsor Castore.
Marty Smith is one of ESPN’s most popular and recognised reporters and hosts who currently covers a variety of sports including college football, basketball, both the NFL and NBA, NASCAR.
Smith has a southern drawl which presumably appeals to the NASCAR crowd, but had the repeated irritating tick of calling Christian Horner and Max Verstappen “brother”.
Red Bull energy drink playing catch up in N. America
Last year the Red Bull drinks company revealed it derives 35% of its marketing benefit from Formula 1 and this F1 car launch was clearly aimed to boost the product in the USA and Mexico.
In Europe, Red Bull tops the numbers in the energy drinks market sales but in North America it trails market leaders made by Pepsi and Coco-Cola.
There were interviews with Red Bull sponsored extreme sports stars though the subjects ranged from a Philosophy major who was eloquent in the extreme to a snow boarder who clearly bordered on being illiterate.
Red Bull fans fume on social media
Competitions, campaigns and merchandise were also promoted as the awkward and clunky segways kept on coming and on social media the fans were getting irritated.
One follower posted, “This is basically a Red Bull event with a bonus F1 car reveal.”
While another fumed, “Red Bull Racing F1 team, did you forget to pack the car for the presentation? Stop stalling.”
The audience were particularly muted though temperatures of -15 degrees Celsius in the line outside the Classic Car Club of Manhattan presumably deterred all but the media and the hardiest of fans.
Extreme weather hit Xtreme sports brand
The event was slated to take place in Times Square though due to the artic cold front that hit New York state on Friday and Saturday it was hastily rearranged to an indoor venue.
Of course Oracle are a New York based organisation and the final and much leaked reveal was the announcement that Ford would be partnering with Red Bull Racing when the new F1 power unit regulations begin in 2026.
The final nail in the coffin came as Marty Smith announced that Formula One’s CEO, Stefano Dominicali, was to take the stage. There was silence, a few awkward jokey comments from the president of Ford and Marty Smith, before the news came through that Dominicali would not be appearing.
F1 CEO backs out at last minute
Dominicali was actually being interviewed at that moment by Chris Midland for SiriusXM and believed he had communicated the change of plan.
The original plan was for him to be part of the welcoming of Ford to Formula One, though clearly this event had become a marketing occasionally aimed primarily to promote the Red Bull brand and its current F1 partners. The Ford announcement was very much an after thought tagged on at the end.
So it was either for this reason Dominicali backed out, or possibly because he preferred not to be part of the shambles that unfolded.
Why Verstappen is the promoter’s dream
The car was finally revealed, though it looked the same as last years mode and in a room full of competing content producers for the various Red Bull partner brands, influencers and journalists, Max Verstappen demonstrated why he is the new F1 marketing dream.
As Ford was the focus of the power unit presentation, Verstappen reminded everyone who had brought Red Bull their recent 3 world titles.
“We are talking about Ford now for 2026 but I also want to say we are still with Honda at the moment, and what they are doing at the moment is incredible,” Verstappen said.
“Without them of course we couldn’t have had the success that we had.
“So we are also very much looking forward to continuing that for the moment and really extracting the most out of that as well before we make the switch for 2026.
NBC showed Red Bull how it could be done
The chaotic set of back to back sketches stitched awkwardly together that was the Red Bull F1 car launch for 2023 had been eclipsed by the prior media events held in New York City.
Thursday night saw Daniel Ricciardo on The Late Show doing what the Aussie does best. His interaction with Stephen Colbert was witty and endearing and spotlighted F1 drivers in the best light possible.
Christian Horner and Sergio Perez appeared in another broadcast, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Again there were plenty of quips and banter as the slick NBC broadcast team showed how things could be done.
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