Manor Marussia F1 Team has announced a new partnership with online home and room rental company Airbnb ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
Since emerging from the collapsed Marussia operation at the beginning of 2015, Manor has raced with a largely bare car without any notable sponsors.
However, it will now be racing with the Airbnb logo for the remainder of the 2015 season after announcing a new partnership with the company on Thursday.
“As the Challenger Partner, Airbnb branding will be proudly displayed on the team’s MR03B Formula 1 cars starting at the Grand Prix du Canada, and on the drivers’ race suits and across other team media, highlighting the commitment to making race fans feel at home as they travel all over the world from race to race,” a statement from the team read.
“The Manor Marussia F1 Team is effectively a start-up,” Manor team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick said. “Of course, Formula 1 is an unusual start-up environment to operate in, but our challenges are the same as many other early stage technology companies. Airbnb is a phenomenal success story of a company that has completely reinvented an industry.”
Started back in 2007, Airbnb allows tenants to rent out either rooms or entire homes via an online marketplace that features over 1,000,000 listings across 35,000 cities in 192 countries.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Manor Marussia F1 Team and we’ll be cheering them on as they compete in F1 races across six continents,” said Airbnb chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall.
“Just as we’re excited to have the team be part of our community, we know our hosts will look forward to welcoming race fans from all over the world into their homes.”
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.