F1 new team name mocked as the worst in series history

AlphaTauri will be renamed Visa Cash App RB F1, which drew backlash from fans. — Image from twitter.com/AlphaTauriF1

DAYTONA BEACH (Florida): Jenson Button, so entrenched in his preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, seemed to miss the news that Red Bull's junior Formula One team had been rebranded.

After climbing off the timing stand last Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, he was asked his thoughts on the team known as AlphaTauri the last four years being renamed to Visa Cash App RB F1 - a moniker that has been widely panned by fans as the worst in F1 history.

"What is the new name?” he asked The Associated Press.

When the 2009 F1 champion and current Sky Sports commentator heard it, he tried to repeat.

"Visa Cash App... what comes after that?” he asked. "So it is Visa. Cash App. RB. What?"

Don't worry, Jenson, nearly the entire industry and F1 fan base has wondered the same thing since Wednesday's rebranding.

Button has no idea what he'll call the team while commentating this year, "exactly what we're told to call it,” was his best guess. But he had a rosier view of the rebrand than the swell of social media rage.

"People are talking about it, right?” he asked. "So that's good. It's obviously worked in getting people to talk about it.”

Perhaps, but the talk hasn't been flattering.

"Visa Cash App RB is the worst team name in Formula 1 history and is an embarrassment to Red Bull and Formula 1 as a whole,” wrote Edd Straw of The Race.

"Not only does it sound fatuous, but it also showcases an avaricious lack of imagination that can only be spirit-sapping for those working for the team and signal to the hundreds of millions watching that this is not a competitor to be taken seriously.

"It’s hard to imagine (founder) Dietrich Mateschitz allowing this to happen were he still around, which is telling in itself given Red Bull was built on its astonishing capacity for imaginative marketing strategies.”

Straw was kind compared to many of the fans who flocked to social media to ridicule the name.

One asked "What's next? Will Max Verstappen race as Max EA Verstappen & Sergio Perez as Sergio Telmex Perez?”

The blatant corporatism is only one of the problems that has been highlighted in the new name of the team Red Bull launched as Scuderia Toro Rosso - the Italian translation of Red Bull - from its 2006 debut until 2020.

Red Bull then put its clothing line, AlphaTauri, on the cars for four seasons but turned the naming rights over to Visa once the company signed on as title sponsor.

"I believe you will see more of these sponsorship entitlements coming into existence in the future," said Tom Legeman, a professor of Motorsports Marketing and Management at the University of Northwestern Ohio.

"Look at stadium entitlements. They were unheard of 25 years ago, but now they are commonplace across multiple sports, and the dollar figures for these entitlements continue to rise.

"For the purist, they are going to hate the change. None of the older F1 fans wants Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams, and other icon F1 brands co-branded with a consumer product or service.”

Many fans have grumbled they are going to continue to call the team either Toro Rosso or AlphaTauri - or versions of "RB” or "Red Bull 2” or "Red Bull junior team" since "RB” is in the official team name.
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