McLaren confirms its MCL60 will display digital ads for the entire 2023 Formula 1 season

Pioneering the technology with tests at the 2022 US Grand Prix, the Formula 1 team has become the first to recognise the potential benefits of embedding digital advertising within their race cars.

In a paddock first, McLaren has committed to incorporating digital ad technology onto their cars for every Grand Prix this F1 season, following trials of the technology late last year.

Partnering with DOOH technology platform Seamless Digital in October 2022, this past weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir marked the first occasion where the technology was used during a race.

The digital panels allow multiple brands to be displayed on the MCL60’s exterior in a rotation, increasing the scope for McLaren’s 40+ partners to be exposed to viewers.

Weighing in at just 190 grams, the panels have been incorporated into the shape of the car to ensure there is no negative aerodynamic impact. Despite being small in size, they have been designed to be clearly visible when viewed from a driver’s helmet camera - a popular angle shown frequently throughout a Formula 1 race weekend’s broadcast.

The wave of the future

Following the announcement of the partnership with Seamless Digital in October 2022, Executive Director of Brand & Marketing at McLaren Racing, Louise McEwen, said she was “looking forward to seeing the impact this has on the wider industry”.

She said: “We are pleased to work with Seamless Digital to debut one of the most exciting innovations in digital advertising technology. Being able to rotate different brands on our cars is a game-changer in this space.”

This type of adtech has been seen in sports before, with both the MLB and NHL in the US having incorporated rotating adverts into their broadcasts. However, this innovation had previously never been seen on a racetrack.

Mark Turner, Founder and CEO of Seamless Digital, has big ambitions for the technology and believes it represents “the next step in the future of motorsport marketing”, citing the increased flexibility of rotating adverts as a significant point of difference in terms of value for teams and their partners.

He added: “Our technology enables more creative options for brands to communicate situationally relevant messages.

“By ensuring the technology works on a Formula 1 car we have already cracked the toughest place to innovate and are set to disrupt advertising across F1, motorsport, golf, US sports and ultimately, wider more mainstream use.”