McLaren’s multi-million dollar 2022 Formula 1 car and the e-reader you keep on your bedside table now have something in common: they each feature an electronic paper display. But while your Kindle helps you fall asleep each night, McLaren Racing is instead leveraging the unique display technology to help revolutionize corporate sponsorships .
Racing is a big business, especially at the Formula 1 level where a team can spend over a hundred million dollars in a single season. Corporate sponsorships help offset those costs, and enable other companies to benefit from a Formula 1 teams’ efforts. Putting a corporate sponsor’s logo on a Formula 1 race car isn’t just a way to say thanks, it’s valuable publicity for the company, so much so that after a race it’s someone’s job to calculate just how much screen time a given sponsor’s corporate logo had. Sponsors compete for placement on the limited space a Formula 1 car offers, but that could soon change. Double Din Car Stereo
McLaren Racing recently announced a partnership with a company called Seamless Digital to upgrade its 2022 MCL36 cars with electronic paper screens. It’s an idea we’ve seen before. At CES 2022, earlier this year, BMW demo’d an SUV that was completely wrapped in flexible electronic paper from E Ink, allowing the vehicle to dynamically changes its appearance from white to black, or introduce different patterns and designs, without a trip to the paint shop.
The BMW iX Flow was just a concept—the carmaker has no definitive plans to offer the E Ink wrap as an official option—but at this past weekend’s United States Grand Prix, McLaren Racing upgraded its MCL36 cars with a pair of electronic paper displays, one on either side of the cockpit, that it plans to continue using during practices for the remainder of the 2022 season.
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The displays, which are lightweight and flexible, wrap to the contours of the race cars so as not to affect their aerodynamics, and allow the vehicle’s branding to be changed on the fly, even in the middle of a race.
Craig Scarborough shared some additional details about how the display system works on Twitter . They’re powered by the vehicle’s own electrical system and have been tested to endure the heat and vibrations the vehicles are exposed to. They are slightly heavier than traditional decals, but offer the advantage of some better branding opportunities.
Bmw Carplay In a spot where a single logo was displayed on a car throughout an entire competition, McLaren Racing can now display rolling branding for several different sponsors, all pre-programmed for specific time intervals, locations, or even programmed to change depending on how the race goes. Sponsors could be given the opportunity to have their logo displayed more prominently while the vehicle was in first place, or pay more to have their logo appear longer while the race car was temporarily sitting at a stop in the pits. The added technology has nothing to do with the performance of the car, and everything to do with increasing the profitability of competing in Formula 1.