The latest addition to MotoGP’s group line-up almost collapsed throughout its first season.
RNF boss Razlan Razali admitted in an unique interview with The Race that the withdrawal of title sponsor WithU left his group in “enormous difficulties” that would’ve ended its involvement in MotoGP after only one season.
However a brand new take care of on-line safety firm CryptoDATA signifies that RNF’s not solely safe for 2023 however that Razali feels he’s ready to shake up how groups and sponsors work together within the collection.
Spiralling costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine compelled Italian vitality supplier to finish its in depth motorsport funding – simply as RNF was getting ready to ditch Yamaha for Aprilia equipment. Razali admits that introduced his group near the brink.
Cybersecurity agency CryptoDATA (already a sponsor of collection promoter Dorna) got here alongside at simply the proper time.
“It has been a really difficult, tough 12 months for us, in all points,” Razali advised The Race.
“From the riders’ outcomes, switching from Yamaha to Aprilia, and probably the most vital one, our accomplice, WithU, pulling out.
“We have been in enormous difficulties, as a result of the group relies upon 80-90% on sponsors, and we have been actually in a tough state of affairs.
“However nearly instantly, when the information got here out about WithU simply earlier than Aragon [in September], that’s once we met CryptoDATA, on the Saturday.
“They heard about us, heard concerning the issues we had with our title accomplice, and we met.
“To my shock, they have been already an present Dorna accomplice, and so they’re not cryptocurrency. They’re a lot, far more than that. A lot larger than that.
“The discuss on the Saturday of Aragon weekend was about them being a brand new title accomplice. Then on Sunday, they turned our visitors from the VIP Village and we had extra conferences, and it developed and advanced into one thing far more totally different and thrilling.”
That one thing extra thrilling, on this case, wasn’t only a new sponsorship deal however a transfer to purchase a controlling stake within the group from the previous Sepang Circuit CEO.
This sponsor-owner situation isn’t fairly distinctive in MotoGP, as generator agency Pramac additionally wholly owns and operates the Ducati squad bearing its title.
However Razali believes what RNF and CryptoDATA have accomplished is nonetheless a brand new enterprise mannequin – and one which he says brings potential to do issues very otherwise.
“They made a proposal to turn into a shareholder within the group,” he defined.
“They wished to take a position as a result of it makes extra sense for them and their group of corporations and types to not simply be a title accomplice.
“So we continued that dialogue, though it was already a handshake at the moment. We did a fast due diligence examine, they got here to Malaysia and we clarified all of that, and principally the deal was accomplished in Sepang and we made the announcement at Valencia.
“To mark their funding, they got here up with the particular livery, and the remaining is what it’s.
“After all, the title of the corporate has this notion of them being a cryptocurrency, however they’re not. Their technique is to alter that mindset.
“However no matter they’re, they’re a brand new kind of sponsor for MotoGP and as a accomplice for us who’re taking a look at doing one thing totally different.
“We’ve already recognized the highest 5 issues we need to do to enhance the expertise of visitors within the hospitality, to extend worth and to create enterprise round MotoGP. Worth creation that enhances the group and their enterprise.”
Whereas possession of the group will technically change fingers, the day-to-day accountability of working the squad is not going to – one thing assured by contract due to Dorna’s insistence that Razali and his expertise stay part of the RNF outfit till at the very least the present batch of group contracts with the collection expire on the finish of the 2026 season.
“After all, with the change of possession, it requires consent from Dorna, and Dorna put sure circumstances into that consent which features a monetary assure till 2026 and that I’ll stay as group principal till 2026 and past, as and once we get the entry from them,” stated Razali.
“When it comes to scope of labor, I’ll focus extra on the sporting facet and so they’ll take a look at the advertising and the sponsorship a part of the group.
“For me, generally, it’s nice to have new sponsors, new companions for MotoGP, and that’s one thing that the collection wants, as everyone knows.”