Like it or not, when it comes to brass tacks, motorsports is a business. To keep racing, the teams need to make money, and, generally speaking, the winnings from a victory aren't going to cover the expenses. The reality is that teams need sponsorship to survive. For decades, much of that funding in the top rungs came from tobacco advertising (like the Winston Cup or Michael Schumacher's Marlboro-sponsored Ferrari). But today, that's illegal in most places, and energy drink companies have so far been happy to fill the void. An intriguing editorial on Asphalt and Rubber warns teams not to get too used to this recent stream of funding, though, because the same fate could befall these caffeinated drinks in the future as did cigarettes in the past.

The article focuses specifically on MotoGP. In that series, Red Bull (which also operates two separate Formula 1 teams) and Monster Energy are the title sponsors of 5 of the 18 races, plus several riders and teams. They aren't alone, though. Other energy drink companies are providing sponsorship, as well. The issue is that the sugary beverages are facing bans to people under 18 in several European countries and are already prohibited to young folks in Lithuania. If an outright ban actually happens, it might make all of this expensive racing sponsorship far less attractive to the companies because they wouldn't have nearly as many people to advertise to.

While the story pays definite attention to Europe, it does cite the American Medical Association as also lobbying to ban energy drinks for minors in the US. It's an interesting take on a motorsports situation that is rarely considered. If you're a fan of racing, especially on bikes, the editorial is definitely worth a read.


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  • 41 Comments
      Barry Hubris
      • 6 Months Ago
      Why no mention of regular soda? The deleterious effects are well documented. It's a far bigger problem than Monster. And while you may think it's a personal choice, the reality is that just like cigarettes, obesity, diabetes and heart disease cost all of us a ton of cash.
      Edsel
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yup. I'd like to see a race team financed and sponsored by Tom's Tasty Turnip Juice Company instead of Red Bull. They'd be racing old Trabants.
      jonnybimmer
      • 6 Months Ago
      Pulling RedBull out of motorsports... Yeah, that'd be like pulling Nike from soccer or basketball. Technically, a sport can keep going on without their support, but why would you shoot yourself in the foot by turning away one of your biggest, progressive investors? And all because young people CHOSE to consume a product they know to be unhealthy? These people should focus on making healthier alternatives more accessible instead.
      btulliani
      • 6 Months Ago
      Education starts at home. Informing your children that smoking and what ever is not a healthy life style is parental responsibility. You have to watch your children like a hawk and lead by example. Children watch their parents and simple repeat the behavior. Eat well, train hard and live long..........
      raidersfan17
      • 6 Months Ago
      I can't speak for F1, but if you keep pushing away the sponsors and their dollars the sport cannot and will not survive. NASCAR did that with hard liquor such as Jack Daniels, Jim Beam etc. They did relax those rules a few years ago but to my knowledge they are both gone now. It is simple economics or referred to "ROI" return on investment. If companies are not going to make money or have conflicts, again in NASCAR with the AT&T sponsored car while the series was sponsored by NEXTEL. They will go elsewhere. See UPS, Dodge, NAPA. Even Dupont and Budweiser are not full-time sponsors anymore.
      rsxvue
      • 6 Months Ago
      Energy drinks have way too much invested in motorsport to simply disappear. This especially applies to F1 where redbull owns TWO teams..not just sponsors, but owns. I don't see this ban happening when they carry such a huge presence.
      Ryan Chang
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is what happens why one's government is a nanny state....so glad I live in FREEDOM CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Guns, trucks, freedom. Not stupid socialism land and their stupid laws. Also liberals feel free to move to europe and stop ruining america.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 6 Months Ago
      A Cigarette logo on a racecar doesn't make people smoke. A Monster logo on a racecar doesn't make people drink it. People have the capability to make choices, and will continue to do so regardless of whether hypersensitive corporate nannies dictate what is socially acceptable to put on a racecar or not.
        carguy1701
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        This. I loved the Marlboro livery on McLarens and Penskes, but I've never felt the compulsion to take up smoking.
          TopGun
          • 6 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Ditto. Saw my first race at Mosport - Canadian GP in 1976…John Player…Marlboro all over the place. I've never smoked a thing in my life…haven't even inhaled!
        Humberto Yi
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        Not true. People in the unites states don't have the ability to think or make choices. Can't buy large soda in NYC, can't wear MP3 player crossing street in NYC (because buses hit you), private buisenesses have smoking bans because people couldn't make the choice to not go there. The time for people making choices and thinking is gone, we need the government to save us now...
      waetherman
      • 6 Months Ago
      Thanks, Obama!
      jonwil2002
      • 6 Months Ago
      Except that due to the world governing body of F1 being unwilling (or unable) to stand up to Ferrari, there is still money flowing from Marlborough and Phillip Morris to Ferrari even if the Marlborough name doesn't actually appear on their cars anymore. The FIA needs to basically ban Ferrari (or any other team in a motorsport code under their control) from continuing to receive money from any cigarette company (more specifically, they need to ban Ferrari from renewing the Philip Morris deal once it next comes up for renewal and force them to find a non-tobacco sponsor instead)
      Hek!
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yuck, more enforced political correctness, can't wait till all our freedom of choice is taken away on all levels of society. -.-
      J
      • 6 Months Ago
      If these energy drinks are what they're all cracked up to be, perhaps they should be used as fuel.
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