July 17, 2006

The Formula 1 Collection

While NASCAR has long been simultaneously promoting their identity and capitalizing on it through merchandizing, Formula 1 was missing the boat. The newly-launched Formula 1 Collection seeks to rectify the situation with a new line of merchandise, available exclusively online at formula1.com.

The collection is neatly divided into four lines by their construction: Cotton (t-shirts, polos, caps), Carbon (watches, mousepads, keychains), Leather (wallets, portfolios, photo frames), and Other (stationary, DVDs). The items on offer in this initial collection are tastefully designed with a discreet F1 logo and are by-and-large quietly understated. And while that’s a welcome approach amidst team merchandise that’s often loud and overstated, it doesn’t quite match the image of F1 racing.

Some of the products in the collections are quite run-of-the-mill, like the t-shirts and notepads. Others are completely pointless, like a carbon fiber mouse-pad. (When was the last time you used a mouse-pad?) Some are quite unique, like the Swarovsky crystal-embedded logo caps. The collection also includes some of the more mundane timepieces from the officially-licensed (and ironically-named) Jacques LeMans Formula 1 Collection, whose carbon fiber face notwithstanding, don’t seem like anything special (the full collection can be seen at Jacques-LeMans.com).

The entire collection seems to be built around the F1 logo, which is a nice enough design, but it hardly sends me searching for my wallet. All in all, although there are some interesting items, I struggle to find much in the collection that I’d actually want to buy. It is a nice enough collection to keep me watching for the next, though, in the hope that maybe they’ll offer something irresistible enough to separate me from my hard-earned cash.

See the entire F1 Collection at f1store.formula1.com.