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| 4 minutes read

“Cosmetics and Cockpits” - F1 Academy X Charlotte Tilbury

Amidst the ongoing Formula 1 season, a ground-breaking collaboration has emerged, highlighting the intersection of cosmetics and motorsports. Charlotte Tilbury, a female-founded and female-led brand, has stepped into the arena to bolster the participation and potential of women drivers in the F1 Academy.

Empowering Female Motorsports and Shifting the Landscape

Established in 2022, the F1 Academy, a female-only single seater championship, stands as a beacon of opportunity for women in the traditionally male-dominated world of motorsports. Recognising that 40% of F1 fans are female, yet representation on the track remains lacking, this initiative was conceived to create an easier transition for women participating in karting who wish to progress to the single-seater ladder, with the ambition that, eventually, female drivers will progress to higher levels of competition. With less than 5% of drivers in motorsports being women, it is providing equitable opportunities and better representation for aspiring female drivers (see here for our previous article where we considered further the opportunities F1 Academy presented for female drivers).

Charlotte Tilbury's entry into the realm of motorsports marks a historic moment, as the cosmetics brand becomes the first to partner with a female-only motorsport series. Charlotte Tilbury will leverage its worldwide reach to highlight F1 Academy’s talented drivers, spotlighting their accomplishments and demonstrating to their audience the myriad opportunities for women in motorsport, both on and off the racetrack. This move not only breaks new ground but also signifies a shift in the sponsorship landscape, setting a precedent for other beauty brands to champion female athletes and initiatives in sports. 

Unlocking Commercial Success: The Impact of Sponsorship in Women's Sports

The global sports sponsorship market, which was valued at $63.1 billion in 2021, is expected to grow to $109.1 billion by 2030.[1] Recently, the sports industry lapped up several Super Bowl advertising spots featuring brands such as Cetaphil, Dove and CeraVe. Sport and beauty have given each other a new lease on life. While the sport-beauty/personal care alliance was once predominantly male dominated, the past few years have seen a growing interest in partnerships directed toward female sports. What is more, previous sponsors of the women’s championships often echoed what we saw elsewhere in sports – beer, sports brands, tech companies, hotels, and casinos etc. The collaboration with the beauty brand challenges stereotypes and showcases the multifaceted nature of women's interests, providing role models for young girls to look up to. Each campaign is designed to foster acceptance, empowerment, and a sense of belonging within the realm of sports. It celebrates the culture that resonates with an underrepresented sector of the sport.

The symbiotic relationship between sponsorship and success in women's sports has been substantiated by research, illuminating the significant commercial benefits for brands. For instance, studies have revealed that sponsorships have a direct and positive correlation with consumer behaviour. In the case of Il Makiage's sponsorship with Arsenal Women in 2022, consumers reported a notable 31% increase in their likelihood to purchase products from the brand. Not only that but since the partnership began, girls playing organised football increased by nearly a quarter compared to 2019, up to 16.6 million in 2023. Arsenal Women also reported history last month, as they sold out the Emirates Stadium for the first time ever. It seems that beauty brands are playing a direct role in the amplification of women in sports.[2]

Moreover, research conducted by the Unlimited Group's Human Understanding Lab sheds light on the profound emotional connection that female sports fans have with their favourite teams and athletes.[3] Female sports fans consistently exhibit a higher index than their male counterparts when it comes to identifying a sense of belonging as a key emotional driver behind their sporting fandom. This finding not only emphasises the immense loyalty and dedication of female sports enthusiasts but also highlights the potential for brands to tap into this passionate and engaged audience through strategic sponsorships.

By aligning with female athletes and sporting initiatives, brands both enhance their visibility and market reach while simultaneously demonstrating their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. As the landscape of sports sponsorship continues to evolve, embracing this trend is not just a strategic move - it's a reflection of progressive values and a pathway to commercial success. F1 Academy is an excellent example of leveraging the global reach and influence of the Charlotte Tilbury brand sponsorship by amplifying its message of empowerment and encouraging women to pursue their dreams unapologetically, both on and off the track.

Conclusion: Driving Change in Motorsports

The collaboration between Charlotte Tilbury and the F1 Academy has already sparked significant sponsorship deals, with major brands like Red Bull joining the trend with their recent sponsorship of female driver, Pepe Jeans. This surge in attention underscores the growing interest and support for women in motorsports, signalling a promising future for the female only F1 Academy.

As we witness the uptake and increased viewership of women's sports, the involvement of brands like Charlotte Tilbury further promotes inclusion and diversity within this arena. Will this open the gaps to more beauty, fashion, wellness, luxury or any other ‘girl-coded’ type of market investments? Could this fast-track women-owned or operated teams, female drivers, and major sponsorships straight up the ladder to Formula 1? Keep an eye out for the Charlotte Tilbury-designed car operated by Rodin Motorsport, driven by the talented French racer Lola Lovinfosse this season - an emblem of progress and change in the world of motorsports.

Looking ahead, the success of initiatives like Formula 1 Academy prompts the question: will other sports follow suit? Golf, for instance, is experiencing notable progress in promoting women’s participation and visibility, with events such as the LPGA Tour gaining prominence. Meanwhile, the record-breaking attendance at events like the Women’s Super League signals a growing appetite for women’s sports, setting the stage for a future where beauty and sports partnerships thrive, driving positive change on and off the field.





women in sport, sport