With the Alfa Romeo deal expiring in 2023, Sauber have finally confirmed what they will be named for the 2024 and 2025 season.
The Swiss brand has opted to further its connections to online crypto casino Stake but such a partnership could cause problems down the line.
With a few months still to go until the F1 season begins, here is why Sauber’s new name will cause issues at certain venues.
What is Sauber’s new name?
Having promised a New Year’s Day announcement, Sauber confirmed at 9AM GMT that for the next two years, they will go by Stake F1 team.
The new name was hardly a surprise. Stake have sponsored Sauber since February 2023 and when the FIA entry list was published in December, the brand was part of Sauber’s provisional new name.
It is also a very lucrative deal for Sauber reportedly netting them $100 million over three years and will be on the car until Audi take over in 2026.
Who are Stake?
Sauber describe Stake as a betting, entertainment and lifestyle brand which is glossing over some of the facts.
Stake.com is a crypto casino where users can gamble with crypto currency rather than traditional money.
Upon first glance, Stake appears to be based in the Caribbean with their holding company registered in Curacao, just off the coast of Venezuela, but dig a little deeper and not everything is as it seems.
A 2021 investigation by Australian outlets the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the company was not operating out of Curacao but actually was based more than 9,000 miles away in Melbourne.
The revelation raised red flags from anti-gambling advocates in the country as online casinos were banned in Australia in 2001, making it illegal for companies to offer this service to Australian residents.
But, a loophole does allow a company to be based in the country provided it does not allow Australians to use the site. The company is also not allowed to advertise in Australia and as it is officially registered and licensed in Curacao, it also sits outside Australia’s money-laundering laws.
Despite their base in Curacao, Easygo Gaming – the company behind Stake – has employees listed as working in Australia, including that of founders Edward Craven and Bijan Tehrani.
Why is Sauber’s new name a problem?
Aside from being a crypto brand, which have proved volatile over recent years, Stake poses a more clear cut issue.
Plenty of countries featured on the F1 calendar have bans on advertising gambling and even Sauber’s native Switzerland has such a restriction.
Eight of the 24 host nations – Qatar, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Bahrain, China and Brazil – all have some kind of restriction on gambling while Stake is banned from advertising in Australia.
Bans on certain companies are nothing new in F1. Vape brand Vuse sponsors McLaren but that must change any time a country’s restrictions prohibits advertising smoking and vaping products.
But it is a different story when the brand is the team’s actual name.
Sauber’s official new name is not Stake F1 Sauber Team but just Stake F1 Team, leaving them with a need to be creative in certain areas.
How will Sauber get around the ban?
An answer as to how Sauber will avoid this rule was given last year.
For four races in 2023, Sauber ran with Kick branding, a streaming platform owned by, you guessed it, Stake.com.
As it is not strictly a gambling or crypto company, Kick can advertise in areas where Stake cannot, even if its profits go into the pockets of the same people.
Sauber alluded to this in their press release, suggesting their partnership will be something that “breaks away from conventional concepts of sports and entertainment sponsorship.”
So, when Stake F1 team are not allowed to be called Stake F1 team, expect to see them named as Kick F1 team instead.