The silly season, musical chairs and the domino effect

KKI has extensive experience advising clients within the motorsport industry, and we’re no strangers to the burst of activity which happens at this time of year.

We act for manufacturers, suppliers, managers, sponsors and race track owners, as well as for a number of leading race drivers and motor racing teams both here, in Europe and in the United States. Our clients participate in a range of race series, including V8 Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup and Australian GT here in Australia, sports cars and open wheel categories in Europe, and the Indycar series in the US. Despite the differences in the international competitions, the one thing all race series have in common is that around this time of the year, driver contracts are reviewed against performance, renewals are discussed and drivers who might be coming out of contract may look to shift teams.

The commercial negotiations between the key parties are a fascinating thing to watch and be a part of. The combination of hyper competitive people, money, ego and ambition makes for a heady and sometimes volatile mix of issues that requires us to provide equal measures of level headed commercial analysis, legal advice and sometimes a little bit of relationship counselling! We do this work because we love it.

Often there will be one or two key possible movements of drivers that, depending how they develop, will then trigger a mad rush of activity. As a result KKI routinely assists our clients in developing contingencies, carrying out formal and back room discussions and negotiations, and deflecting and dealing with “strategic” gossip (some might even call it fake news …). Fun and games indeed.

But, there’s also a very important and serious side to it all and one in which everyone involved has a stake. Brand protection and reputation, employment issues and policies around conduct, privacy, restraints, contractual termination and renewals and many other key commercial and legal issues are always in play. After all, motor racing is, at its core, a business.

The art of getting the deal and the relationship correctly structured and documented results in predictability, effective management, service and product delivery for all parties involved, as well as fundamentally underpinning the enterprise value of a business.

Need to discuss your motorsport issue? Contact Sven Burchartz or Natalie Lasek.