Formula 1's lucrative sponsorship deal with airline Emirates is set to end after the 2022 season, sources have told RacingNews365.com. Emirates – one of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates – has been a partner of F1 since 2013, and signed their most recent deal in '18, which is due to expire at the end of the '22 campaign. The airline has received substantial branding and marketing opportunities through F1, including race title sponsor deals, trackside advertising, fan zones, Hot Laps, as well as VIP experiences for customers at Grands Prix. RacingNews365.com understands from sources with direct knowledge of the matter that the Emirates partnership with F1 will come to an end with no possibility of a new deal being signed. It is believed that F1 was asking for double the $25 million a year deal for the contract to be extended.
Alternative deal possibly lined up
Despite the expected loss of a major sponsor, RacingNews365.com's sources indicate that a new deal with another airline in the middle-east is a possibility. It is understood that Qatar Airways could be joining the top-tier list of F1 Global Partners, which already include brands like DHL and Heineken. F1 raced in Qatar for the first time in 2021, before the race dropped off for '22 as the nation is due to host the FIFA World Cup in November/December. The Qatar Grand Prix is set for a return in 2023, once again due to be at Losail instead of the planned purpose-built street track. In addition, Qatar has links to F1 boss Stefano Domenicali through his previous work at Lamborghini. The sovereign wealth fund owns 17% of the Volkswagen Group, with the Italian manufacturer falling under the VW umbrella. Domenicali was previously CEO of Lamborghini after leaving his post as Ferrari Team Principal. Another VW-owned brand – Audi – is set to enter F1 in 2026 when the new engine regulations come into force. They are due to partner with Sauber in an engine supply deal, with the Swiss team's sponsor deal with Alfa Romeo due to end after the 2023 season. Porsche – also in the VW family – were heavily linked with a potential tie-up with the Red Bull squad, but talks failed late on in negotiations over what Christian Horner put down to differences in "DNA" between the two.