Sponsorship deals go far beyond the transferring of cash and products from one business to an individual or a team.
One example of a successful long-time partnership deal is that of Shell and Ferrari, having gone through more than six decades together.
Shell and Ferrari have a very special relationship that dates way back to when the very first Ferrari car rolled out of the factory gates at Maranello, Italy, powered and protected by Shell’s fuels and lubricants.
Today, every Ferrari road car that emerges of production at Maranello is filled with Shell V-Power road fuel and Shell Helix Ultra engine lubricant.
Shell’s ties with the prancing horse kicked off when Enzo Ferrari first set up his race team in the thirties. But it was only when Ferrari S.p.A was formed in 1947 then Shell was officially announced as a technical partner.
Since then Shell has been with Ferrari’s side for 12 World Championship Drivers’ titles and 10 Formula One World Constructors’ Championship titles.
Add the nine world titles with Ducati and Shell easily has one of the strongest relationships in motorsports.
When Enzo Ferrari established in 1947, Shell was naturally chosen and hence has been with Ferrari through F1 as well as its road cars.
Other than a brief decade and a half in the eighties and early nineties where Shell and Ferrari faced a temporary break in their relationship, the alliance has been firm between both parties.
In fact, this long-standing technical partnership was just extended this year for another five years to 2015.
The partnership between Shell and Ferrari is so significantly strong that there is someone appointed to specially oversee it all.
During the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix in September, I got the opportunity to meet Stuart Humm, Shell’s Sponsorships Manager.
Humm’s role is to manage the commercial aspects of Shell’s technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, travelling to F1 races all season and working with Ferrari throughout the year.
“There are two parts to our partnership with Shell. There is the technical side where we have the constant development of our Shell V-Power race fuel to assist Ferrari in achieving peak performance. Then there’s the commercial aspect where I come in to manage the relationship with Ferrari and ensure the most value out of the partnership is gained on both sides,” said Humm, who has been managing sponsorships in F1 for seven years and working for Shell since 2008.
“Within the Ferrari pit at F1, there is a Shell Track Lab where our scientists are busy conducting over 40 tests each race weekend on the Shell V-Power race fuel used in the F1 cars. This is to ensure that maximum power and performance is derived from the fuel,” Humm added.
With the ban on refueling imposed this season, the significance of fuel is stronger than ever as the challenge is to increase efficiency and not compromise on performance.
Shell invests 18,000 hours a year in research and development in F1, where the scientists test fuels and formulations under the most extreme conditions in the F1 environment.
Shell’s F1 project team is ever increasing and this year there are more than 50 Shell technical staff contributing to the Ferrari F1 programme.
The results and learnings of the testings at F1 are then transferred to the development of Shell V-Power road fuel for motorists around the world.
So how else does F1 help the brand?
“Brand awareness is tremendous of course, as hundreds of millions of viewers follow the sport worldwide. Shell is an established global brand and our involvement in F1 is a credible technical platform to test our products. Having such a long-standing relationship with Ferrari proves our competence as they have tough standards and will hardly accept anything less than the best,” Humm explained.