London, 19 October 2015: Visa Europe, the leading payments brand in Europe, has announced its global sponsorship of the FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first fully-electric racing series. Having sponsored the European leg of the inaugural season last year, Visa has now signed as the Official Payment Partner for the next three race seasons, until 2018. The second season kicks off in Beijing on October 24.
The sponsorship includes prime trackside branding, tickets and race rights to pass onto Visa Europe’s markets and members.
The payments brand also announces its sponsorship of the 2015 Formula E Champion, Nelson Piquet Jr, who will become a Visa Driver Ambassador and the first ever Visa Europe sponsored driver. A successful and respected driver with racing in his blood, Piquet Jr has 22 years of competitive racing experience. He also won the Visa Fastest Lap in Berlin earlier this year – a trophy awarded to drivers who post the fastest lap times in each race.
Visa Fastest Lap will continue to play a key role in Visa Europe’s new sponsorship activation. In addition to receiving a bespoke trophy, the fastest driver will continue to receive two championship points from the FIA, on top of any points earned during the race.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Mark Antipof, Chief Officer, Sales and Marketing at Visa Europe said:
“Visa Europe’s partnership with Formula E is the perfect combination of two truly innovative brands. Formula E is driving the change towards an electric future and reinventing motorsport, while here at Visa, we’re reinventing payments by pioneering technologies to make payments faster, simpler and more secure. We seek partners that match our commitment to innovation and leadership, so it was therefore natural for us to extend our support of this evolutionary sport through a global sponsorship for the next three years.
“We are also incredibly excited to announce Nelson Piquet Jr as our Visa Driver Ambassador. It will be the first time that Visa Europe has sponsored a world-famous driver of this stature, and gives us a fantastic opportunity to further engage with fans and bring them even closer to the action.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, commented:
“We are delighted that Visa Europe has decided to become the Official Payment Partner of Formula E. Last season they demonstrated through the sponsorship of the London ePrix and the Fastest Lap initiative the kind of innovation and leadership on which Formula E thrives. Visa is a company with worldwide recognition and a reputation for pioneering innovation, qualities that I believe makes them a perfect fit for Formula E. This partnership once again shows the burgeoning profile and success of Formula E.”
Nelson Piquet Jr, 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Champion, said:
“I am very proud to be announced as the Visa Driver Ambassador for the 2015/2016 race season. It is an incredible honour to be partnering with a global brand that’s at the forefront of its industry. As a driver in the world’s first electric racing series, I can really relate to the emphasis that Visa puts on technology and innovation. I am excited to work with them on some great campaigns throughout the forthcoming season.”
Visa will leverage this sponsorship to engage with customers, members and merchants across all of its European markets through a mixture of social, digital and traditional marketing. Formula E’s innovative use of social and digital media puts fans at the heart of the race, and ground-breaking initiatives such as FanBoost – where fans vote for their favourite driver through social media to give them a boost of extra power - offer a level of interaction never seen before in professional sport.
The new Visa “Always On” brand positioning, an expression of Visa’s customer promise and a reflection of Visa’s position as the beating heart of payments, will also be activated across the championship.
About Visa Europe
Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe.
Visa Europe is at the heart of the payments ecosystem providing the services and infrastructure to enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees. Visa Europe is also the largest transaction processor in Europe, responsible for processing more than 16 billion transactions annually – at a rate of 1,622 transactions per second at peak times.
There are more than 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. Total expenditure on Visa cards exceeds €2 trillion annually, with €1.5 trillion spent at point-of-sale.
Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments in more than 200 countries and territories.
For more information, visit www.visaeurope.com and @VisaEuropeNews
About FIA Formula E Championship
Formula E is a ground-breaking FIA championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability.
The first season began in Beijing in September 2014 and completed in London in June 2015, racing in 10 major cities (11 races) around the world. The championship sees 10 teams, each with two drivers, going head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.
Season two gets underway in October in Beijing where the series becomes an ‘open championship’ allowing approved manufacturers to develop new powertrain solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further allowing manufacturers to focus on improving battery technology.
About Nelson Piquet Jr
With motor racing in his blood, it’s no surprise that FIA Formula E Champion Nelson Piquet has continued the family tradition.
Having started his career in South American karting, he soon switched to car racing with immediate success in South American F3. A move to Europe followed where he took top honours in the British F3 Championship in 2004. The Brazilian graduated to GP2 in 2005, finishing as runner-up in the series in 2006 after a season-long battle with Lewis Hamilton.
He graduated to a race seat in F1 for 2008 alongside Fernando Alonso where his performances, including a second place podium in the German GP, helped the team secure fourth position in the constructors’ championship. He continued with the team into 2009.
From 2010 Nelson began to pursue a career in the USA in NASCAR. He became the first Brazilian to win a top tier NASCAR race by visiting Victory Lane at Road America in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 and further took victories in the NASCAR Truck Series.
In 2014 he took a full-time ride in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship, impressing with four podiums in his first season, and was announced for the inaugural 2014/15 season of the FIA Formula E Championship; this saw his return to single-seater competition in which he had not competed since 2009 and, in the inaugural season of the all-electric racing series, Nelson took the overall championship title, scoring race victories at Long Beach and Moscow along the way.