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EXCLUSIVE: Formula One Races Into Fragrance With Designer Parfums

A limited-edition bottle will retail for $10,000.

LONDON — Formula One is breaking into the fragrance business, capturing the scent of wet asphalt and leather seats for its debut collection that will hit stores in the summer of 2020. It has partnered with Designer Parfums on the venture, although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“F1 was bought by Liberty Media in 2017, and part of that has been to pivot F1 from a motor racing entity and establish it as a media and entertainment brand, which is why we are launching fragrances. It’s also really important that we grow our fan base,” said Ellie Norman, director of marketing and communications at Formula One.

The collection will launch globally with five fragrances and a three-pronged distribution strategy. On Friday, F1 will debut the fragrances in an exclusive, limited-edition bottle at the Formula One Eithad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019, with 100 pieces available to purchase.

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The next drop, in the spring, will feature the premium packaging, while in the summer, there will be a launch of new fragrances.

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“We’re creating two tiers of products. The perfumery collection will be limited in distribution and will be in department stores and travel retail, whereas the main collection will go into a much wider retail chain,” said Parag Vidyarthi, managing director of Designer Parfums.

The first drop of limited-edition pieces will be priced around $10,000 as the bottles, or “art pieces” as the company refers to them, are gold-plated and made from titanium. Customers can choose from three styles. The premium collection will retail at a much friendlier price point for 195 pounds, or $250.

The bottle was created and designed by Ross Lovegrove. According to Designer Parfums, it is the first fragrance bottle to make use of 3-D printing technology. The bottles are sleek and mimic the shape of a car.

“In the later years the idea is that through 3-D printing, we’ll be able to give customers the ability to customize their designs and have that interaction in the design process. That’s part of our future strategy,” said Vidyarthi.

“It’s a long-term and global partnership, we’ll be launching the brand in every territory around the world and we’re looking to create a real fragrance brand,” said Vidyarthi, adding that each of the five fragrances has been designed to narrate a different aspect of F1. They have also been tailor-made for different regions.

F1 has yet to release the names of the fragrances, and has only said that “they’ve got lots of F1 DNA”.

One fragrance, created with pink pepper, mandarin and patchouli, was made for the U.K., Germany and Europe, while another containing tonka bean, vetiver and gaiac wood, has been designed for the Middle Eastern market.

“I think we have a really audacious collection of fragrances been inspired by the essences of F1. We’ve told a narrative with the five fragrances so we’ve got the story of courage, the fiery passion, the focus and determination and then of course, the sparkling victory at the end,” said Carol McCann, brand manager of Designer Parfums.

There’s more to come, and F1 and Designer Parfums said they are excited about their long-term relationship.

“We’re obviously very excited, but we need to be smart about the way we’re crossing. Obviously the key markets are going to be determined by the crossing between the key markets in perfumery and the footprint of F1. Right now, Europe, Middle East, Russia, and Latin America are key territories. The year after will be a big Asia focus,” said Santiago Alvarez, chief operating officer of Designer Parfums.

With regard to the future of F1, Norman said the organization is looking to expand more into lifestyle.

“Music is another key aspect for us to explore, but right now we’re looking at how we’re going to continue to build out this partnership as we truly feel that there is a massive opportunity for us to create a bespoke fragrance for each market. In terms of exploration, anything that touches lifestyle is where we’re very keen to explore,” she added.