Red Bull’s rebranding of its Alpha Tauri team to “Visa Cash App RB” and Sauber’s transformation into “Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber” have stirred a mix of confusion and ridicule in the Formula 1 world. The new names, deemed “ridiculous” by some, are causing a stir not just among fans but also within the F1 community, including 2009 world champion and Sky pundit Jenson Button.
Button, speaking to AP news agency while at Daytona, humorously questioned the new team name’s length and structure: “Visa Cash App – what comes after that?” His remarks reflect the broader challenge faced by F1 headline writers and broadcasters in referring to the Faenza-based team concisely. Team insiders have reportedly resorted to the acronym ‘V-CARB’ as an unofficial shorthand.
Michael Schmidt, a prominent correspondent for Auto Motor und Sport, expressed disdain for these recent naming trends in F1. He specifically targeted Sauber’s rebranding as “Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber,” calling it a move that makes F1 “a laughing stock.” Schmidt criticized the complexity of these names for practical purposes, such as results lists and TV commentary. He intends to stick with the original team names, emphasizing the importance of tradition in sports marketing.
“This is how Formula 1 makes itself a laughing stock,” he said. “Imagine these tongue twisters in the results lists. Or on TV commentary. No one can remember that,” he insisted.
“I personally won’t call the teams those names. For me, they are still Sauber and Toro Rosso. Because that is their origin. I find it pathetic that the FIA and Formula One Management are playing along with this bad new habit of constant name changes. Tradition is an important marketing element in any sport. If Real Madrid became Emirates Madrid or Bayern Munich became Qatar Airways Munich, the fans would riot. And rightly so. Because a piece of their identity would be lost.”
Button, however, acknowledged the effectiveness of these marketing strategies, despite their controversial nature. “People are talking about it, right? So that’s good. It’s obviously worked in getting people to talk about it,” he noted, highlighting the buzz created by these unconventional team names.