Peroni Libera signs on as brand partner for historic return of Aston Martin to F1

Aston Martin Cognizant drivers: Stroll (left) and Vettel
Aston Martin Cognizant drivers: Stroll (left) and Vettel

Alcohol-free beer’s branding will appear on cars in the British luxury marque’s first season in the sport since 1960.

Peroni Libera 0.0% has signed a multi-year partnership with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One team, which makes its debut in the sport this year – marking the first time the British carmaker beloved of James Bond has raced in F1 for 61 years.

The branding of the Asahi-owned, alcohol-free Italian beer will appear on the team’s vehicles and at its “motorhome” base at each of the season’s 23 Grands Prix – the first of which takes place in Bahrain on 28 March.

Peroni also plans a series of city centre activations, allowing fans to see the cars, and a content series featuring the team’s two drivers: four-time World champion Sebastian Vettel, and 22-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll, who is competing in F1 for the fifth year.

'Icons of style'

Libera launched in 2019, one of several new products from major beer brands aiming to tap into consumer demand for alternatives to alcohol and respond to pressure from governments to promote health and responsible behaviour.

Speaking to Campaign, Richard Ingram, global brands director at Asahi Europe & International, described the partnership as a "pinnacle" that would give the brand “scale, stature and fame”.

“It's a pinnacle because F1 reaches over 200 countries, nearly two billion in terms of TV audience, and it goes across 23 countries [this year]. And I think, therefore, it really does tick those boxes for us," he said.

Aston Martin was a good match for Peroni, he added, because “we are both icons of style and our values are for passion, for flair, and for attention to detail.”

On the planned city activations, Ingram said he would work with on– and off-trade partners “to put a blue ribbon around the city and create aspirational experiences. Think rooftops; think the sort of things you might see that we've done in the past with the House of Peroni in these key cities.”

Peroni is also set to launch a new ad campaign around the start of Q2 called “We’ll meet again”, continuing the theme of the Italian tradition of la passeggiata (an evening stroll with friends and family) featured in its campaigns of the last two years.

“It really plays on cultural context, which I'm a massive advocate of,” Ingram said. “The campaign is all about coming together [a rare experience for most people in the Western world in the last 12 months]. Contextual relevance and cultural relevance is critical. In today's world people crave connections with a brand, but it's really important that you get the tone right.”

No time to drive (until now)

Aston Martin previously competed in F1 in 1959 and 1960, but took part in just five races over the two seasons. Its final appearance, at the 1960 British Grand Prix, came just over four years before the start of perhaps the brand’s most famous association, when James Bond drove its DB5 model for the first time in Goldfinger.

A return to the sport has been mooted several times in the past two decades, but has not materialised – though for the last three years, the brand sponsored its now-rival Red Bull Racing, which was known as Aston Martin Red Bull.

Aston Martin is taking the place of former team Racing Point, after Racing Point’s billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll – father of Lance – bought a stake in the luxury marque. The second part of the new team name comes from its title sponsor, tech giant Cognizant.

Aston Martin’s cars have appeared in each Bond film since 1995’s GoldenEye, and four separate models – including the DB5 – will appear in the forthcoming and much-delayed No Time to Die.

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