The Driver Suit Blog-Formula One Month Starts With Odds and Ends

mariussadisplay-7By David G. Firestone

This week, I finally get to start Formula One Month. Formula One is the biggest auto racing sanctioning body in the world. Nobody can deny that. Races can see over 300,000 spectators at the track, and 58 million viewers on television. Teams cover over 50,000 miles in travel distance and many engineers work on the car while never leaving their race shop. The cars are more sophisticated than any other racing vehicle in the world. Formula One has proven to be the great auto racing group in the world.

The merchandise table is a key to their success. While the pricing of items is a little suspect, fans will wear their affiliations on their shirts. But as I discussed a few weeks ago, the race-used memorabilia market in F1 is significantly different than in NASCAR and the NHRA. NASCAR is very big in body pieces or “sheet metal.” The NHRA is very big in engine parts. While F1 has some of these available, they are much more pricey than their NASCAR and NHRA counter-parts. Formula One isn’t run by dumb people, they do realize that there is a demand for these items.

These items come to sale sometimes. One such way these items come to market is when a team changes names or goes belly up. While many items can be salvaged, some items can’t be, and are sold to collectors. One such example is this this Virgin Racing interview backdrop from 2011.mariussadisplay-1The backstory on this is that Virgin Racing was founded as Manor Racing, and carried a Virgin sponsorship in 2010. In 2011, Marussia Motors, a Russian sports car company bought a stake in the team, and the team was re-branded as Marussia Virgin Racing. With the new team came the inclusion of the Marussia logo into the team. Their run as a team was unimpressive one, with neither driver scoring points. The team became Marussia F1 from 2012 to 2014, when the team shut down due to financial issues. In 2015, the team was re-branded to “Manor Marussia F1 Team.” After 2015, Marussia ceased to exist, and ceased their F1 team, and the team was re-branded to Manor Racing.

This interview backdrop is a portable one, specifically made for team members or special guests to stand in front of while giving an interview. It’s almost 4 feet wide, and well over 6 feet tall. It consists of a cloth container with the backdrop inside. It’s in great condition.mariussadisplay-2 mariussadisplay-3 mariussadisplay-4 mariussadisplay-6 mariussadisplay-5It’s almost 4 feet wide, and well over 6 feet tall. It consists of a cloth container with the backdrop inside. The backdrop has a balance leg, and the cloth part rolls up. A collapsible pole holds it up. I’ve given a demonstration of the effect they are going for…mariussadisplay-7Now while F1 is not as readily selling body pieces, they do sell them. Teams will change their designs due to rule changes, and they will sell the old body pieces. What I’ve noticed is that a lot of teams will encase the pieces in Lucite or something similar. I think that this might have to do with secrecy. The teams want to make money, but they don’t want to give their hands away on what they make their cars out of. I also like the idea of a body panel in Lucite. It looks good, and makes a good fit for an office.

This Red Bull piece is one such example. redbull-1The piece is just under 2.5 inches long, and is encased in a piece of Lucite which is 3.5 inches by 3 inches by 1 inch. It’s blue, with red and white logos, and the three championships etched into the glass. The top has Infiniti Red Bull Racing etched into it. This would place it between 2013 and 2015. It comes with a small COA and a small blue pouch. Other than that, there is no information about when it was used, or who by.redbull-2 redbull-3 redbull-4 redbull-5 redbull-6 redbull-7 redbull-8I get that the limited number of engines used by an F1 team, and the restrictions on how many parts can be used limit what could be sold, but there is a genuine market for these parts. I’m also wondering why F1 doesn’t market race-used tires. That would be a gold mine for F1, Perelli, and the teams, and collectors will love them. I also get that because the body on an F1 car doesn’t get changed as often as NASCAR, the market for body pieces is limited. I just wish prices were lower because I would buy more items.

While body pieces and parts are in limited supply, uniforms and uniform items are in decent supply, and are decently priced. I’m going to get more into uniform design in the coming weeks. Next week, I’m examining an undershirt.

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