The owners of Formula One have performed a daring manoeuvre which has handed them the rights to the word ‘Shoey’ - the podium celebration of drinking champagne from a shoe.
The Shoey was most recently seen earlier this month when Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo won the Chinese Grand Prix. The Australian is famous for celebrating in this way on the podium and has even got celebrities including Sir Patrick Stewart and Gerard Butler to drink champagne from his shoe after winning races.
There was to be no repeat of the Shoey in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix though, with Ricciardo clashing with Red Bull teammate Max Verstapppen in a high-speed accident that took the pair out of the race and left them facing a fierce backlash from within the team. However, it may be only a matter of time before Ricciardo’s ritual returns this season and goes mainstream.
According to filings with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), F1’s branding department Formula One Licensing was granted a trademark registration to the word ‘Shoey’ on 24 August 2017. It has been registered in 25 countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom where it came into force on 4 January this year.
The registration is only for one category but it’s a crucial one as it covers flasks, glasses, bottles, mugs, sculptures and figurines. So expect to see shoe-shaped beer steins and drinking trophies on sale over the coming months.
It would fit with F1’s drive to boost its merchandise range and appeal to a younger audience. It is being spearheaded by the sport’s new owner Liberty Media which bought F1 for £5.8bn in January last year. Since then it has attempted to rev up F1’s image by rebranding it and giving it more razzmatazz, most memorably by hiring boxing announcer Michael Buffer to introduce the names of the drivers at last year’s US Grand Prix.
Getting the rights to the ‘Shoey’ hasn’t been an easy ride as the filings reveal that F1 also applied for a trademark to the word in the category which covers clothing. However, this was later cancelled due to an earlier registration for the word in the same category by Australian Korinne Harrington, a relative of the duo who coined the phrase.
The Shoey has been a popular celebration in Australia for around 15 years thanks to surfing and fishing brand, The Mad Hueys. Dean and Shaun Harrington, known as the face of this brand, have been quoted saying they drunk Shoeys as early as 2002. As The Mad Hueys accelerated in popularity more personalities got in on the act with Ricciardo being one of the latest.
One of the first racers who drank from a shoe was Supercar rider David Reynolds when he won the first non-endurance race of his career in 2015. It got a boost in exposure the following year when Australian MotoGP rider Jack Miller celebrated his first premier class victory by drinking champagne out of his shoe at the Dutch circuit of Assen.
F1 won’t be able to stop the stars of rival sports from celebrating in this way but it could put the brakes on them selling glasses, bottles and statues carrying the word. Red Bull Racing itself even tweeted a link for fans to make their own cardboard Shoeys to drink from on New Year’s Eve. If it ever tried to sell it in future it might need F1’s consent or it could run the risk of getting the red light.
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