May 29, 2009 Despite a propensity to eat its own, Formula One is still the globe’s most watched sporting series, and its merchandising machine is evident on the streets of every country in the world. The t-shirt, cap and key-ring knock-off makers will have a hard time replicating the latest offerings from the Toyota Panasonic F1 team though. The company has begun selling the used high-tech parts from its racing cars. A complete rear wing, engine cover and underbody section, virtually half a car, can be had for just UKP4,400 – we suspect some very realistic game console accessories will emanate soon due to this very clever move. “While stocks last” promises to be an apt sales pitch as F1 nutters rush to snap up the bargains.
It makes a lot of sense really – constant revisions to aerodynamics, brakes, wheels, and indeed every part of an F1 car means that incredibly costly and beautiful items become useless to the team on a regular basis. Throw in the obligatory spare parts that need to be manufactured and often never get used (it’s hard to imagine a team failing to put a damaged car back on the track because it didn’t have a spare anything), and millions of dollars of parts are crushed each year by every F1 team. Selling those parts to the legion of fans who dote on every word written about their team could provide a substantial income stream for the cash-strapped sport and might well solve some of the financial issues every team in Formula One faces.
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So in a move we whole heartedly applaud, Toyota has begun selling items it no longer needs such as carbon fibre wings, brakes and light alloy wheels through the Toyota F1 web, with prices ranging from UKP175 to UKP4,400.
At the bargain end of the market there are wheels, brake discs and suspension parts from less than UKP200, while front and rear wing assemblies can be yours for between UKP700 and UKP2,000.
The move will add an incremental publicity boost for sponsors whose logos will no doubt find themselves on to office walls across the world.
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