Katie Clements confident A1GP team will weather the storm
A1GP Team Great Britain team lost a major sponsor this season due to the recession, but is now receiving interest from sponsors priced out of costlier series’ such as Formula One, says team principal Katie Clements.
A potential title sponsor pulled out of talks just before the start of the season and Team Great Britain has managed only a single one-race major sponsorship deal since. Things have not gone smoothly on the track either. The team missed the first race of the season because of a delay in the delivery of the standard series chassis by the supplier contracted by A1GP. The cars have been hampered by technical problems since and the team lies tenth in the championship, having finishing third in the three previous seasons.
“It’s been very tough this season,” Clements told BritSport Weekly. “I’m not worried about the future of the team or the series, but it’s going to be tough. Going forward we [Team Great Britain] need to be funded from somewhere. We are not fully funded yet, but there is lots of interest from sponsors for season five [next season]. Particularly in the Surfer’s Paradise street circuit [at a beach resort in Australia].
“A1GP team budgets are all pretty much the same and have always been well-managed. We’ve been careful how we have spent money.”
Clements is bullish about the team's commercial prospects going forward and said that it has been contacted by companies which have been involved in Formula One in the past but are now looking elsewhere. A1GP, she says, is a budget option for would-be sponsors.
Team Great Britain’s best sponsorship deal this season was a one-race deal with UK leisurewear manufacturer Greeneye for the South Africa race, which saw Greeneye branding on the Great Britain car. Clements says the company is keen to work with Team Great Britain next season too.
She also says this season’s deal between A1GP and Ferrari which has seen Ferrari engines in A1GP cars was “very positive. A lot of people want to be associated with the Ferrari name.”
All this is welcome for the Team Great Britain team, which, like other A1GP teams, is yet to make a profit. It still relies on private investment and money from its drivers to keep running. However Clements predicts profits “in series five or six”.
“We always thought it would take five years to get the ball rolling, and get our fanbase on board.” Sportbusiness.com