Kia in Formula 1?

Time 3:11 am, August 15, 2011

f1KIA or sister firm Hyundai could one day race in Formula 1 a company insider has told Car Dealer.

The Korean manufacturer has fully priced up the cost of entering the world’s premier motorsport arena, and although the time isn’t right now, there’s nothing to say it won’t be in the future.

‘We would never say never,’ explained the company executive. ‘I fully costed out seasons in F1 when I worked at head office in Seoul as well as the pros and cons of competing.

‘The thing is you don’t want to race if you are going to be at the back of the grid so the time has to be right. It’s also important for a car company to have the right products to promote off the back of it. Manufacturers go racing to sell cars, but the right cars have to be available that would appeal to the fans.’

Kia and Hyundai is currently the fifth biggest car maker in the world and its resources are plentiful. With growing product ranges and improving brands, the combined company certainly has the assets to make a success of competing in F1.

Our company insider also revealed he had investigated seasons in other forms of motorsport including the World Rally Championship and touring car championships around the world.

‘The problem with motorsport, and especially F1, is that the returns are not great,’ he explained. ‘For example, in the UK around 5m people watch a premier race like Monaco. Compare that to the World Cup, which we sponsor, and some 250m around the world watch that event.

‘It’s all a numbers game and about return on investment. With the World Cup you can accurately predict how often your brand will be seen on TV and by how many people. With F1 it’s a lot different.

‘When I investigated entry it wasn’t right for the brand, but with the models we’ve got coming in the future that’s not to say that will always be the case.’

Could you see Kia or Hyundai racing in F1? Let us know what you think.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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