It has been rumoured this week that Tech3 may be about to lose their Red Bull sponsorship, but why?
Red Bull are one of the biggest sponsors in MotoGP, sponsoring major rounds to tournaments such as the MotoGP eSport Championship down to teams and riders as personal sponsors. It is clear to see that Red Bull pour a lot of Money into MotoGP. They are one of the biggest advertisers in extreme sports, spending around $2bn a year on sponsorship.
If you want to see more about how Red Bull make their money, see below:
Clearly Red Bull can afford to pay Tech3’s bill, so why would they reduce their interest in the KTM team but continue to sponsor the factory team?
There is one major reason, Repsol Honda. It is no secret that Honda and Repsol are looking at a potential divorce for the 2021 season, Repsol threatened to leave in 2015 following the Sepang clash, not wanting to be a part of a sport which has those kinds of incidents. Therefore they could be looking for a way out of the sport at the end of their contract in 2020 with the teams 2020 results not providing a good return on their investment.
This departure will leave a gaping hole in Honda’s wallet, their factory effort costs in the 10’s of Millions of Euros a season, therefore will need a replacement. The team are already sponsored by Red Bull with their rider Marc Marquez having a relationship with the brand spanning back to his rookie 125cc season in 2008, therefore with Red Bull’s huge sponsorship budget and Marc Marquez at their disposal, they could be moving their Tech3 sponsorship over to Honda, funding a Red Bull Honda effort similar to the one we saw in World Superbikes.
Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl in the Red Bull Honda colours
This would mean we would have not one, but two factory teams sponsored by Red Bull, KTM and Honda which could cause some conflict, but would be the most logical reason.
Tech3 losing Red Bull could majorly affect them and their budget, Red Bull will be paying a lot of their overhead costs currently meaning the team will either need to gain more financial support from KTM, or gain a new sponsor. Plus, it has the opportunity to damage their reputation as a KTM branded team, KTM and Red Bull are tied across motorsports with Factory KTM MXGP, Dakar and other teams all sporting Red Bull branding. Therefore a KTM team which runs factory KTM bikes not using their major sponsor could make them look like outsiders and a ‘customer’ team instead of a team within the KTM family.
The decision seems strange, especially given that Miguel Oliveira stood on the top of a MotoGP podium, providing Red Bull and the team with a lot of media coverage, however in 2021, the team will run Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci, it is a possibility that Red Bull do not believe these two riders will be able to promote the brand the same way Oliveira could.
When leaving Yamaha, Tech3 had to end their long term relationship with Monster Energy due to a clash with Red Bull. The Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha livery a staple in the MotoGP scene. It is incredibly unlikely that we will see a return of Monster Energy given KTM’s links with Red Bull.
Currently Red Bull are using Tech3 to promote their ‘Organics’ brand of drinks instead of the normal drinks, a situation similar to the Alpha Tauri F1 team with the team promoting the clothing brand of Red Bull rather than the drink, possibly showing a lack of interest in Tech3 from the energy drinks giant, using Tech3 as a ‘B’ team for advertisement, advertising their side products instead of their main energy drink.
It is rumoured that we will see a ‘classic’ Tech3 livery in MotoGP with lots of KTM orange with a Tech3 twist on this. We are hoping Red Bull are here to stay, giving Tech3 the financial support they need to continue nourishing talent in the MotoGP class, but only time will tell.
Featured images – www.worldsbk.com