Formula One unveils new logo

The new Formula One World Championship logo was unveiled during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. Getty Images/Getty Images

ABU DHABI -- Formula One has unveiled its new logo following the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The new logo replaces F1's iconic 'flying one', which has been the sport's trademark since 1993.

The design unveiled after Sunday's race is the first part of a wider rebranding of the sport that will take place in March next year ahead of the 2018 season opener in Australia. The rebranding will feature new graphic packages and production elements for the world feed, a new web platform and the introduction of a live and non-live Over The Top offering.

There has been a mixed reaction from fans since news of the logo change broke, but Formula One's commercial boss Sean Bratches defended the decision to switch.

"We hold in high regard the incumbent mark," he said. "It's served Formula One extremely well for the past 23 years but in terms of where we're taking the business and our vision for the business, it's the negative space in the '1' doesn't come through candidly in digital.

"In fact if I had marked or polled the number of people who I have met and discussed the mark since I've gotten here, many of them went years and years not understanding that the invisible space between the left and the right was actually a '1'. So we wanted to keep it simple and clear, and I think that's important for our digital space.

"We are trying to re-position Formula One from a purely motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand with the heart and soul of a race car driver in the middle of it. I think your brand and your mark represents the spirit of where you're going, it's an identifier for consumers in terms of how they represent the company or the brand. The number of brands, particularly in this day and age, who are trying to simplify their mark to enter the digital space. If you look at Starbucks as an example, or Coca-Cola, which has taken the condensation off its logo to enter digital. We felt we had to go a little bit further to re-tool it to position us on a going forward basis."

Formula One's head of marketing Ellie Norman explained the vision for the new logo.

"It takes its inspiration from the low-profile shape of the car, two cars crossing a finish line and it is incredibly bold and simple," she said. "But as we apply this in today's market and being mobile and digital led, we have much more flexibility and versatility with this logo.

"Another important factor was looking at motorsport and motorsport is definitely a segment which is full of logo upon logo. So we need to make sure this logo works alongside the team logos, our partners' logos, promoters etc.

"We actually had an incredibly iconic logo, but as we look to the future, for me it's much more about having a badge and we want to create an identity for Formula One. This has stemmed from the research we did with fans across the world earlier this year. The new design is inspired from what we learned from the fans and the associations which they want to have with the sport.

"Pretty simply, the fans want to get back to racing and what racing means to fans, and that's about the realness of it -- the grittiness, the human element, and that kind of wheel-to-wheel racing. Wieden and Kennedy [the design company] took that inspiration and have created this logo."

When it was put to Bratches that the initial fan reaction to a change had been negative, he responded: "These are difficult changes. We've not gone into this light-heartedly, we've given it a lot of thought and from my perspective it was one of the things I really wanted to look at because from my eye it seemed to be dated and seemed not to reflect where the sport could go.

"Candidly I think it's good people have an opinion because they care. As the caretakers of this sport and brand we feel very strongly about it. We understand in any logo change, small modification or wholesale, that people are going to have varied opinions. I think that's good for the sport. Everybody has got an opinion in Formula One so I didn't think we'd sneak away unscathed on this one."