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Ex-Heineken exec Pincus takes F1 commercial reins with clear remit to add new global partners

Formula 1 has spent the past few years in existential self-examination. Should its primary goal be entertaining its fans or showcasing the technology of its competitors? What does it stand for in a world slowly turning away from the internal combustion engine? And – with stakeholders still adjusting to the more liberal style of new owners Liberty Media after years of Bernie Ecclestone’s iron grip – how should it do business? Entering F1 at this critical juncture – and facing the impact of Covid-19 to boot – is Ben Pincus, formerly sponsorship director at Heineken. Pincus takes over the director of sponsorship and commercial partnerships from Murray Barnett, who brought a flexibility in terms of rights package creation to the role in his three years but could not meet the sales expectations of the owners. Just one Global Partner – Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company – has signed up under Liberty’s tenure so far and that, SportBusiness understands, was the result of F1’s sales agency CAA Sports. Switching from a brand that has worked with F1 since 2016, Pincus has a brand-side take on the organisation’s strength and weaknesses. Perhaps as importantly, he believes in the sport absolutely, seeing the move as a “logical transition” and a “huge opportunity”.

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