2016 has seen Kaspersky Motorsport return to the Blancpain GT running in the Am Cup with their Ferrari 458 GT3. This represents a leap forward for the team, with the car now carrying full Kaspersky branding although still running out of the AF Corse stable. Kaspersky is of course a major IT security company with ties to Ferrari going back several years and the race team is an integral part of the company’s marketing programme. With two of the company’s executives, Alexander Moiseev and Garry Kondakov, sharing driving duties with Ricardo Ragazzi, plus Marco Cioci joining the team for the Spa 24 hours, big plans are afoot for the Russian outfit.
Sitting down with Moiseev in the Silverstone Blancpain paddock, he is keen to talk about the company’s plans, and coming from a background of racing in the Ferrari Challenge Moiseev sees stepping up to GT3 and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup as a natural development.
“It’s an amazing championship which gives us huge visibility from a marketing perspective and is good for the customers,” the Russian explains. “It gives access to the paddock so our customers can touch the car, they can feel the race, it’s much more emotional and the racing is amazing because there are 60 cars from different brands, so it’s really spectacular.”
After a tough season in 2015, Moiseev is confidant. “We have a great car this year, which is all thanks to the homework done by the team in the off season, and the car is performing really well. Now we need to focus on this season.”
Away from GT racing, Kaspersky are also getting involved in driver development and have sponsored Ferrari academy Driver Antonio Fuoco. “We were looking around through our agency for a driver that could follow the full path to F1. He is the right person, he is technically strong, but it’ll be a long journey.”
Currently in GP3, Fuoco enjoyed several podium finishes in 2015 whilst driving for Carlin, and so far in 2016 sits in fourth place in the championship after strong fourth and third place finishes in the opening round at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
“We’re not just sponsoring him but we are also helping with the many things he needs to improve. But it’s a two way process and he is helping us with our partners and customers explaining the technology and explaining techniques, it is good joint work.”
Speculation that Fuoco could go the way of so many single seater talents and move to sportscars is dismissed. “That would be plan B, but we are not even thinking about that, the focus is to get him to Formula 1.”
Kaspersky’s relationship with Ferrari goes back to 2010 when the company won the deal to provide a complete cybersecurity solution from the F1 team right down to the factory and offices in Maranello. For Kaspersky this was about as much about marketing as a commercial move.
“The idea,” explains Moiseev, “is looking for alternatives for marketing propositions, and sport is the best, and out of that, motorsport is the best with F1 being at the top. In the past the audience was just people in technology but now we need to make a larger audience aware of what we do.”
Partnering with Ferrari is no easy feat, which involves a long process of tendering, so Moiseev is looking forward to the future.
“We got the contract with Ferrari six years ago and now have contracts until 2021. Ferrari now use all Kaspersky products, from the F1 team and right through the factory. We also have a development round table, and we are running with them working on automotive security which is a long-term project which we started three years ago.”
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