Season five of Formula 1: Drive to Survive could potentially include scenes of McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown smashing a Chromebook or Android tablet, Tom Brady-style, thanks to a new arrangement between the team and Google.
In 2020, McLaren exited its deal with OnePlus that produced several powerfully-specced black and orange Android phones, but there’s no indication of a similar branding exercise coming to the Pixel series anytime soon.
Instead, the new “multi-year” agreement between Google and McLaren is putting branding on the MCL36 (spot the Android logo peeking along the engine cover, while the familiar colors of Google Chrome will be on the wheel covers) driven by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, their race suits and helmets, and on McLaren’s Number 58 McLaren MX Extreme E race car drivers and team.
They also say that McLaren will use “5G-enabled Android devices and Chrome browser across its operations during practice sessions, qualifying and races to support the drivers and team, with the goal of improving on-track performance.” In a statement, Brown said “By integrating platforms like Android and Chrome across our operations, our team will be better supported to focus on driving performance. We’re looking forward to an exciting partnership that spans across Formula 1 and Extreme E.”
As a viewer, the inclusion is less annoying than the race broadcast’s often-useless “Insights powered by AWS” sponsored by Amazon, but as Microsoft has found out with its Surface and the NFL, the real branding opportunity comes when someone decides to spike your equipment.