On Friday, the Mercedes-AMG Formula One team said they had suspended the FTX partnership agreement with the troubled cryptocurrency exchange ahead of the season’s penultimate race in Brazil.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, is scrambling to raise billions in funds to stave off collapse while regulators have stepped in.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has confirmed that it has suspended its deal with FTX and removed the exchange’s logo from its cars. Initially, the team indicated that FTX’s logo would remain on the car for this weekend’s São Paulo Grand Prix but reversed the decision this morning as the situation evolved.
The team has stated, “As a first step, we have suspended our FTX partnership agreement. This means the company will no longer appear on our race car and other branded assets from this weekend. We will continue to monitor the situation closely as it evolves.”
Speculation surrounding the exchange’s liquidity plummeted the value of FTX’s own token, and FTX halted withdrawals on Tuesday. A proposed acquisition of FTX by Binance, a rival exchange, has also fallen apart, which sparked a downturn in the entire cryptocurrency market. Reuters reported that FTX is rushed to find $9.4 billion in investment to bail out the exchange. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating FTX.
Mercedes signed a multi-year agreement with FTX late last year. Seven other Formula 1 teams have sponsorship agreements with crypto-related companies, including the Alpine F1 team’s agreement with Binance. It’s unclear how FTX’s current dire situation will impact the landscape of crypto sponsorships in Formula 1 and across all major sports.
And Mercedes-AMG F1 isn’t the only team or athlete affected by FTX’s demise. Tom Brady was heavily invested in the company. TB12 and Gisele even appeared in a commercial for FTX. Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka, Shohei Ohtani and others were also involved with the company. The Miami Heat even play at FTX Arena … which the crypto company promised to pay $135 million to rename back in 2021. It’s likely they default on that agreement.
On Friday, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned, and the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many people, including some of the biggest celebs, lost an immense amount of money.