Earlier today, the ROKiT Venturi Racing Formula E team announced a new partnership with Craft 1861, a CBD company based in New Mexico. It’s the first CBD sponsorship for the electric series, and it signals a growing shift toward similar partnerships in the future for all race series.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is the second most prevalent active ingredient in marijuana, behind THC. THC is the component that creates the psychoactive “high” of marijuana — but CBD interacts with brain receptors to soothe anxiety, depression, and bodily pain without creating that same dazed effect.
Further, CBD can also be extracted from hemp, which is why you can often find legal CBD in areas that otherwise ban the sale and use of marijuana.
Craft 1861, then, creates a line of CBD-infused products that includes everything from oral sprays to facial creams, all of which are designed to assist in relaxation and recovery — and all of which contain zero THC. Founder Eric Lujan created the brand in part to ease the burden of physical exertion and travel exhaustion experienced by athletes.
“What stood out for us with Venturi is the commitment to social and environmental change and sustainability — using the platform of motorsport to do good in the world,” Lujan said in a recent interview with Jalopnik. “We were like, that’s an organization that shares a very same ethos.”
Lujan went on to describe that his company is helping develop recovery plans for all Venturi crew members using Craft 1861 products as a way to combat things like jet lag and the physical, mental, and emotional exertions that come during a race weekend.
“Our main areas of focus as a company are around stress, pain, and sleep,” Lujan said. “If we look at a highly competitive program like Venturi, we look at the entire organization. So we don’t just look at the drivers, we look at everybody that’s on the crew and everybody that makes it possible to get on the track. We look at how we elevate human performance [within that].”
Right now, any company’s CBD products have to undergo rigorous testing to ensure a low, legal THC count before that company can put its name on a race car. Craft 1861's process, though, was a little bit easier this time around, since the company had already undergone that vetting when it sponsored Carlin in the 2019 Indianapolis 500.
“It was a little bit easier this time because we’d already been through the gears,” Lujan said. “For us, it was more about education.”
In the same interview with Jalopnik, team principal Jerome D’Ambrosio emphasized that the partnership with Craft 1861 fits well within the team’s goals of promoting diversity and wellbeing within Venturi — something he called “valid, whether it’s in the engineering department, the commercial department, the communications department.
“Every day, we wake up and think, ‘How can we become better?’” he added. “And that’s not just about the results on track. That’s just one part of the business.”
Venturi’s new partnership with Craft 1861 also signals a greater change in the overall sponsorship landscape in motorsport as a whole. Where tobacco sponsors once reigned, we’re now moving into the world of cryptocurrency and CBD.