Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team’s, Fernando Alonso’s surprising 3rd place finish at the 2023 F1’s seasons opening race in Bahrain for the has generated a lot of hype among Aston Martin fans with lots of speculation that the success on the track will drive car sales for Aston Martin Lagonda. Question is, in today’s day and age, does the old adage from the 1960’s “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” still hold any weight? Put another way, if does Alonso find his way to standing on the F1 podium a few more times in the coming months, does this signal a major change in Aston Martin’s fortunes?
To try and find an answer, I will start my deeply unscientific analysis by first looking at Ferrari car sales over the last decade (for the purpose of this exercise I am ignoring COVID decimated 2020) as they are the most iconic brand in F1 and therefore serve as the benchmark against which all others are measured. In addition, Ferrari has a long history both in the sport and selling cars on the side. In 2013, Ferrari sold 6,922 cars and in 2022, they sold 13,221. Ferrari’s sales rose steadily over the decade delivering a CAGR of 6.7%. During this period, Ferrari finished 2nd in the F1 standings five times, 3rd three times, & 4th once. When looking at the yearly sales numbers, there appears to be zero impact of any change in Ferrari’s F1 results on the car unit sales growth in any given year. As a further point of reference, in the 1st decade of this century, during which Ferrari won 7 F1 Constructors Championships, sales grew at a CAGR of 4.5%.
Given both the strength and longevity of the Ferrari brand, I thought it was worth pulling a second point of reference. As Mercedes F1 has been the most successful team in F1 over the past decade, it should provide to be a great benchmark on how success on the track on Sunday translates to moving cars off the showroom floor come Monday. In its first decade back in F1, Mercedes-Benz car sales grew at a respectable CARG of 3.4%. Not quite as impressive as Ferrari in the same time period but it is off a considerably high base. Only issue here is Mercedes-Benz CAGR for the decade before it reentered Formula 1 was 6.9%. It doesn’t appear podium finishes were much of a sales driver.
Moving on to Aston Martin (and continuing to ignore COVID decimated 2020). In recent history Aston Martin Lagonda has been the title sponsor for two independently owned Formula 1 Teams. From 2018-2020, Aston Martin had a sponsorship agreement with Red Bull and from 2021-> with the former Racing Point F1 Team (now rebranded as Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team). Over the life of the AM-RB sponsorship, Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) car sales grew at a CAGR of 4.8%. Through year end 2022 of the AM-former Racing Point sponsorship, AML car sales grew at a CAGR of 3% (including the newly launch DBX SUV and but declined at a rate of 19% for the more relevant and F1 related Sports/GT cars. Based on this very thin data, it would appear that AML’s money was better spent on sponsoring the Red Bull F1 Team.
As one final data point, Red Bull’s unit sales of its energy drink have grown at a CAGR of 7.95% over the last decade. This significantly exceeds the growth numbers put up by any of the car manufacturers who are currently involved in Formula 1. Perhaps for the 2026 F1 season we will see new teams from Pepsi/Gatorade, Starbucks, and Monster Energy.
Net net, it doesn’t appear that an improvement on Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s results on the track will translate into any measurable increase in AML’s car sales. While Fernando Alonso may now drive for AMF1, he is far more closely associated with Renault (with whom he won two World Championships) and Ferrari (where he finished 2nd in the World Championship three times). Hence the recent success of the AMF1 team is far more likely to be attributed to Alonso’s brilliance as a Formula 1 driver than translate into driving a major shift in sales trajectory for the team’s title sponsor. Now if Aston Martin sold energy drinks, it might be a different situation ………
My Ferrari V12 Hunt
As first world problems go, not currently having a Ferrari V12 GT has to be at about the top of the list. Over the years, I’ve had a bit of a twisted relationship with front engine Ferrari V12s GTs (Man Math & Ferrari V12s). It can basically be described as lust, acquisition, bonding, drifting apart, and then neglect. I love the idea, and nothing can beat the feeling of the surge of power a naturally aspirated V12 delivers, but when it comes to owning and using the car, the reality has been a bit of a mixed experience. The V12s we have owned tend to get a lot of use early on but after a while tend to sit, usually losing the key grab war to the mid-engine V8 Spiders if there was any risk of the sun being out. It’s that top down nimbler, sportier feeling that the mid engine cars deliver so well that normally tips the scales in their favor.
The door for a Ferrari acquisition has recently reopened. A good friend is now the General Manager for one of the leading Ferrari dealerships. I have purchased multiple cars from him in the past and it has always been a great experience. Having someone I trust on the other side of the deal is something I put an enormous amount of importance on.
The open air potential of a Ferrari 812 GTS is highly appealing, and I have put in a pre-order for one. However even if I am lucky enough to get a build slot, it will still be at least 12-18 months before the 812 GTS would land on my driveway. While the Ferrari F12 is a coupe, it could be a great interim option as it is front mid engine design and the twin clutch gearboxes make for a major leap forward in terms of driving feel vs. prior generations of Ferrari V12 GTs. In addition, with multiple road trips already planned for this year, a Ferrari V12 does make for the ultimate long road trip vehicle. The question is do I wait and see if the Ferrari Gods smile on me with an 812 GTS build slot, or do I acquire a F12 at least for the interim and then trade it in if/when the 812 GTS lands?
I have been following the Ferrari F12 market fairly closely for about a year and a half now. While it hasn’t been headed in my direction (i.e down) as quickly as I would like, the events in the last two weeks should give it a good shove southward. If credit markets were tight before, the next six months has the potential to be downright ugly. In preparation, I have sorted the “Use Case” out (see: Use Case Rule ) and gotten Mrs. SSO’s approval. There are several F12s we have taken a look at but the specs on all haven’t quite fit the brief. For a GT, we are looking for a more classic light color interior with a darker color exterior. The 612 Scaglietti we owned about a decade ago was a near perfect karenable GT spec of NART Blue with an ivory interior. If we could find the F12 with the same spec that would be ideal. So far, the closest we have gotten in terms of spec is a F12 for sale at Ferrari of Seattle. However, the asking price is more a reflection of Cannabis consumption in Washington State than reality.
I would not be surprised to see another $30k drop in F12 prices by the end of the summer months which would then make the last Pininfarina designed Ferrari V12 GT a great buy and the whole “Cost of Mileage” (see: Cost of Mileage) thing irrelevant as I would just hold it for the next 30 years if the 812 GTS does not materialize.
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