In Miami all anyone wanted to talk about was the Miami Grand Prix. Uber drivers, at the corner store and people on the street, the buzz around Formula 1 coming back to Miami for the second year in a row was palpable. Puma—already well known in F1 circles as a partner of Mercedes, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo—further cemented its place in the global sport by unveiling an exclusive deal with F1 for the 2024 season and beyond, as reported at Footwear News.
“For us, it’s a fantastic opportunity,” CEO of Puma Arne Freudt told a trackside crowd of onlookers at the F1 Garage at Rock Stadium that included Sergio Aguero, Skepta, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu. “Puma has been a leading brand in motorsports for decades. And then when you look at the partners with whom we have been together in the last decades, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes with most of the best drivers.”
Formula 1 has experienced massive growth recently: cumulative TV audiences have reached 1.5 billion viewers, race attendance reached record levels in 2022 and the sport is also growing rapidly on social media platforms.
“So it’s really a great partnership in two dimensions—sponsorship and licensing—sharing something that we want to offer to our fans, dedicating special lines for them,” Formula 1 Group CEO and president Stefano Domenicali said. “ They’re going to provide something special and you will see the brand Formula 1 through Puma all around the world.”
The freshly inked deal will make Puma the official supplier at Formula 1 races, granting the brand the right to produce F1 branded apparel, footwear and accessories. The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based, multinational activewear company will equip Formula 1 sports officials on track and create Formula 1 fanwear that targets the sport’s different audiences with new lifestyle and motorsport collections.
After a quick break to toast the new partnership, a second panel led by Puma chief branding officer Adam Petrick; Puma director of Women’s Hoops and well known stylist and image maker June Ambrose; Roc Nation’s Emory Jones, and Rwandan and Belgian racing driver and TV presenter Naomi Schiff spoke about the intersection of motorsport and fashion, streetwear culture and the opportunity Puma and F1 have to touch new audiences.
“When I look at Formula 1, I can put them on the board with the Tiffanys of the world,“ Jones said of the global recognition of the sport, echoing the growth the F1 brand possesses.
“I remember back in the ’90s, in the 2000s, motorsport was a thing like we were using the music videos taking inspiration from the culture,“ explained Ambrose, who already designed a hoops collection but is now turning her eye to a motorsport line. “We were recreating it in luxury fabrics, and I started my design career doing these disruptive things. I’m notoriously known for being disruptive.”
Looking forward to what’s to come from Puma and Ambrose, elevation is a key part of the mix, with a focus on a female fan perspective. “There were so many things that didn’t necessarily need to be completely reimagined because they had such a great foundation,“ she said, wearing a few new Puma styles herself. “We have a T-shirt with a crop; there’s only one sleeve.
“That is a way that I can see my point of view and I think it really speaks to a more fashion customer,” she said, blending fashion, sport and lifestyle. “It’s very wearable. Nowadays everything is so gender-neutral. I can see a couple guys in the biker shorts, too.”
Schiff chimed in, “I think the better word for disruption is collaboration.”
Puma’s subsidiary Stichd, a company for licensed fanwear as well as legwear, bodywear and swimwear, will exclusively operate the fan retail stores during every race weekend. The shops will sell Formula 1 products as well as team replica kit, fanwear, and special edition collections from all 10 teams on the Formula 1 grid and F1 legends. The first Puma x Formula 1 products will be available at Puma stores worldwide, and on Puma.com and Formula1.com.