Formula 1 have announced cryptocurrency website Crypto.com will sponsor the three sprint qualifying events in 2021, as well as partnering the sport for the rest of the season.
The first sprint qualifying will take place at Silverstone in the first of three test events for the new 100km format – around a third of a race distance.
The idea of sprint qualifying has divided opinion among the paddock, with Fernando Alonso saying it will help “spice up” how the grid is formed while Sebastian Vettel questioned its purpose – although the teams unanimously agreed to test the events.
Crypto.com have become the first company to partner with the sprint qualifying format and will keep a trackside presence throughout the remainder of the season.
A capacity crowd of 140,000 will be allowed at Silverstone on the weekend of July 16-18 to be able to witness the first running of sprint qualifying, in a test event as Britain aims to ease its lockdown restrictions.
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: “We are pleased to welcome Crypto.com to the Formula 1 family as we continue to attract progressive global brands anchored in performance and innovation.”
Ben Pincus, director of commercial partnerships at Formula 1, said: “We are thrilled to announce Crypto.com as a global partner and lead partner of the sprint event as we bring this exciting new format to fans for the first time this year.
“Crypto.com are revered in the industry and their experience was key in the decision to partner with them, as well as the company’s commitment to becoming carbon negative, as we continue to move towards sustainability goals of our own.”
Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Crypto.com, added: “We are extremely proud to be the first cryptocurrency sponsor of Formula 1, joining a prestigious collection of brands supporting a sport with technology and innovation at its core.
“We look forward to many years of innovating together and will begin at the Belgian Grand Prix, where we will present a brand new award. We are also excited to partner with F1 in the development of exclusive NFTs, connecting fans to the sport in new and innovative ways.”