OKX doubles down on McLaren deal as F1 continues to attract crypto firms

OKX strengthens its collaboration with McLaren’s Formula 1 team, securing prominent branding on race cars for the 2024 season.
OKX strengthens its collaboration with McLaren’s Formula 1 team, securing prominent branding on race cars for the 2024 season.

Cryptocurrency exchange OKX has expanded its partnership with the McLaren Racing Formula 1 team, securing high-profile branding space on its race cars for the 2024 F1 season.

OKX’s logo will feature on the side pods of McLaren’s F1 car livery for 20 of the 24 races of the upcoming season. The vehicle’s primary 2024 livery takes inspiration from the OKX-McLaren “Stealth Mode” design from the Singapore and Japan Grand Prix races in 2023.

McLaren Racing F1 car with the OKX livery on its sidepod. Source: McLaren Racing

OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique told Cointelegraph that expanding its sponsorship deal with McLaren was a natural next step given the increased brand awareness it has garnered through the partnership. Sidepods are also considered the most visible spot on F1 race cars, making them prime advertising space for team partners.

“The results have been impressive. Our partnership with the McLaren F1 team has helped build OKX’s brand awareness and recognition through impressions (over three billion) via TV and online exposure, in addition to in-market exposure leveraging F1’s global footprint,” Rafique said.

The deal has also allowed OKX to tap into McLaren’s fan base through exclusive events involving the team’s F1 drivers. Rafique said the OKX Race Club in-person event at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2023, which driver Lando Norris attended to meet fans, drew over 7,000 attendees.

OKX also recorded 3,000 OKX Web3 wallets being created during the event, which Rafique believes is a testament to the value of activations made possible through the partnership. A survey following the event indicated that 80% of attendees were interested in learning more about the exchange, suggesting that McLaren’s fan base is drawn to exploring Web3 and digital finance:

“This aligns perfectly with our mission to make the crypto economy accessible to everyone and to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities within this space.”

Rafique also suggested that the exchange is set on pursuing a long-term partnership with McLaren, stating that these partnerships derive value from longevity and growth over time.

Related: Dubai regulator grants conditional crypto license to OKX

“I view the McLaren-OKX partnership as potentially decades-long and generational; I want the kids of today to associate OKX and Web3 with F1 and McLaren much as I grew to love Ayrton Senna and McLaren in my youth,” Rafique added.

The OKX exec confirmed that the sidepod branding will be in place for the upcoming race calendar but would not reveal the financial details of the deal or its plans into 2025 and beyond.

OKX is one of a handful of cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses involved in sponsorship and advertising deals with F1 teams and the F1 brand itself. As Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 2, cryptocurrency betting and casino platform Stake secured naming rights to Sauber’s F1 team until 2026.

Related: F1’s Daniel Ricciardo cruises into crypto at Token2049

Reflecting on the increased involvement of the cryptocurrency sector in F1 in recent years, Rafique said the sport is a global phenomenon loved by audiences from a wide range of age groups, demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Crypto was once a niche grassroots movement, but it is now also steadily growing in prominence, adding new utility and broadening its relevance and appeal to mainstream audiences — take the approval of the Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. as an example.”

OKX first partnered with McLaren in May 2022 as a primary partner to its F1 team, with its branding featured on the MCL60 racing car in 2023.

Crypto.com has been a prominent sponsor of Formula1 since 2021, with its logo featuring at Grand Prix circuits around the globe over the past few race calendars. The cryptocurrency wallet and exchange operator also sponsors the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 team.

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