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The Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix was a festival of corporate sponsorship—and FTX’s absence stood out

November 21, 2022, 11:16 AM UTC
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton is pictured ahead of the the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in the Emirati city of Abu Dhabi on November 20, 2022.
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton is pictured ahead of the the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in the Emirati city of Abu Dhabi on November 20, 2022.
KARIM SAHIB—AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

I spent the weekend in Abu Dhabi attending my first F1 Grand Prix, which was a multi-sensory experience that I will not soon forget. It was also the only sporting event I’ve been to where the winner was roundly booed by the audience. (To understand why requires a deeper dive into F1 trivia than I have room to make here, but try this story for starters.)

The sport is particularly notable for its crazed commitment to branding. Every part of the car, and every corner of the driver’s corpus, was covered with corporate touts. The weekend’s big winner, Team Red Bull, was promoting, in addition to the eponymous super caffeinated drink: Oracle, Honda, Mobil, Esso, Citrix, Siemens, HPE, Tag Heuer, Zoom, Pirelli and Walmart—and that’s only a partial list! Also along for the ride: Bybit, the crypto trading platform, and Tezos, which is the team’s “blockchain partner.”

Crypto companies were everywhere at the race track—suggesting there may be a strong connection between driving cars at 220 miles an hour and investing in cryptocurrencies. But unless my eyes failed me, the FTX branding had been removed from the Mercedes cars. Not sure if there is any connection between SBF’s meltdown and Lewis Hamilton’s (see here).

All of which is my long-winded way of saying that at Fortune, we are still following the far-reaching tentacles of the FTX debacle. I personally like the crypto-spinners who now argue FTX only confirms their thesis that finance needs to be decentralized (read here). Also out this weekend: new bankruptcy filings showing FTX owed its 50 biggest unsecured creditors a whopping $3.1 billion. That kind of splash creates waves surely worth watching.

More news below.


Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

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AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

Big Business courted big controversies in the 2022 midterm elections. Were the returns on their political donations worth the risks?, by Maria Aspan

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Elon Musk’s ‘chainsaw’ approach to Twitter won’t work, says early SpaceX investor and former Facebook executive, by Steve Mollman

‘Everyone’s learning crypto bankruptcy right now.’ The FTX crash is set to be a ‘gold rush’ for lawyers, by Tristan Bove

Nuclear accident fears mount as Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant damaged by explosions from shelling: ‘Extremely disturbing’, by Bloomberg

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. 

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