Hello, glad you have found my blog post. Welcome. Today I am going to talk about Formula One merchandise… or ‘merch’ as it is more commonly known. I am a sucker for merch, I practically live in it. F1 merch ranges from teamwear, to individual driver’s creations outside of their team. I like to think of myself as a Daniel Ricciardo merch connoisseur but I have also dabbled in various teamwear too, but what attracts us to the merch? Why do we buy it?
When buying teamwear it makes us feel part of the team, makes us feel included and is a very simple way of showing your support. Particularly when going to a race, it sort of feels like wearing uniform, but in a much cooler way and without anyone telling you your tie is too long or your shirt isn’t tucked in properly – it helps people identify which team you support. I suppose when at a race track, you can sit with your fellow fans and bond over the fact you are both wearing a Charles Leclerc shirt or you both have Seb’s new Aston Martin cap.
There is some downside to merch, the price. Some teams take advantage of the fact that people like me will buy a piece of merch every single time, no matter the price. I guess I just like to show my support, have slight FOMO and like having a variety of hoodies since I practically live in them. But some of the price points for particular pieces of merch are ridiculous. A Mercedes team hoodie was pretty much £100… In fairness, it is one of the nicer team hoodies and Mercedes merch is very sleek and cool… But I am loyal to my team and driver, maybe one day I will buy it, when the price is right. Now I wouldn’t go as far to say that teamwear is ‘fashion’ or something you’d see in a high street store. I know I buy a lot of merch but I think £100 for a hoodie plus shipping is a bit excessive. When you compare prices of particular merch items it does raise a few questions, but the teams know that there are going to be people who will buy it regardless of the price tag.
There is also the element of shipping. Majority of the teams are based in Europe so the shipping isn’t too bad but it does depend on where you order from. If, however, you are like me and have to have every single merch item Daniel Ricciardo releases from his own merch line, then shipping becomes an issue. His store is based in California, now it is great for his American fans as shipping is cheap, but for other fans like myself who live in the UK, the shipping costs do hurt my bank account. The price also goes up for his Aussie and Asian fans. Now I can understand making the merch in California isn’t cheap and sending out isn’t going to be cheap either but you would think if the majority of your fanbase is from parts of Europe and Asia and Australia, it would be nice if the shipping was a little cheaper. But hey, cash is King. On top of the shipping price, in the early days of his merch store came the income tax. This was a surprise. For my large and bulky orders, my income tax was pretty much the same price of another hoodie, if not more… So I had to pay for the merch, the shipping, and then income tax. Luckily, with the last few orders I have placed, I haven’t had any surprises with income tax (thank you Brexit) however, I am not holding my breath. Is it daylight robbery? Yes. Am I still going to buy it? Yes.
But what kind of merch is there? Well it pretty much ranges from t-shirts, to hoodies, to caps, to key rings, winter wear and even umbrellas and pens. I would say it is quite vast. However, I have to be honest and say most merch is either male orientated or unisex. There is a women’s section but this is where I think merch teams can really excel in these areas and get more women involved in the sport. Women’s team merch doesn’t have the best sizing, so being more inclusive in sizing would be a great starting point. I would love a team skirt, nothing too fancy just something cute, and perhaps make the women’s section more fashionable, but that’s just my opinion. I know that there are some women who would like a long sleeved team top – and that is fine by me, I would also love one! Now, obviously with the merch being unisex, that’s great because then everyone can wear it (and yes men can wear women’s clothing and vice versa, nothing wrong with that at all) my point is, if the teams are all about this ‘diversity and inclusion’ and are looking to get more women interested in the sport, I think more merch would be a great start. Women and men often have different body types, I know that I would feel much better and more confident in my merch, knowing it came from the women’s section 1. Because go women and 2. I know it would have been made for my body type. McLaren recently sent a survey to their female fans asking for feedback on their women’s range. To me this shows initiative and the open mindedness to include a wider selection for women.
With the pandemic in full swing and not being able to leave the house, I have lived in hoodies more than I usually would. I think I have a hoodie for each day of the week just from Daniel’s own merch collection. I find Daniel’s merch to be the best of both worlds, comfortable and fashionable. In case you don’t know, I am a massive DR3 fan, and will buy anything this man puts out. However, I like how he tries to make every merch different, his most recent merch drop mirrors his 2021 race helmet which I love. I cannot wait to get my hands on it, and I shall be filming an unboxing so stay tuned. Compared to Daniel’s merch in 2018, the quality has definitely improved – the hoodie is fluffier and the t-shirts don’t feel as cheap. Once restrictions are lifted, I do plan on wearing them outside, not sure I would wear the shirts on a night out but they are definitely day-to-day wear. I like the way teams also release event related merch, for example when Daniel scored his 2 podiums for Renault in 2020, they released t-shirts based on his team radio. It is a nice piece of memorabilia but I also think it is a cool idea for merch, since most t-shirts do have a slogan of some sort on them these days. The McLaren merch is also just as comfortable and I find the sizing is quite similar to Daniel’s own merch. The 2021 McLaren drop was definitely one of the most anticipated merch drops for this season and we know why. The green Australia hoodie, the vibrancy of the orange t-shirts and hoodies are incredible. I also feel like you are paying for the quality – I like how the team shirts are a jersey material making them breathable and stretchy where needed. I hadn’t purchased any McLaren merch for a long while prior to the 2021 and I must say I am very impressed and pleased with it. I cannot wait to wear pieces of my McLaren merch to future races. I will of course make my outfits a tiny bit more fashionable and current because that’s just my style and I can’t wait to see how other fans style their merch.
I am yet to purchase one item from every F1 team, perhaps an idea for another time, but from the teams I have purchased from, I would say that they are comfortable and worth the splurge. Of course, some items should be cheaper because not every fan can afford merch, particularly when hefty shipping costs are involved. I also think certain teams are taking the initiative to make their merch more fashionable and accessible for different audience types. I am looking forward to seeing how McLaren implements the feedback, and I am sure there will be many merch drops across the year. They make brilliant birthday and Christmas presents for any F1 fan. If you want to grab Formula One merch, head to your favourite team’s website, the F1 store, or Fuel for Fans stock previous years merch. It also worth checking Depop too to snag a bargain on any vintage F1 related merch, or if you’re like me and your driver releases merch quite often, make sure to check their store regularly and their Instagram bios and sign up to any newsletters they offer, because more often than not merch does sell out! Let us know what merch you have or what merch you would like to see in the future.