Several times we have been asked by a brand if signing a sports sponsorship just for one race was possible and our answer has always been "Yes". However, this does not mean that it is what we suggested to do.
Brands, particularly the ones that are new to sports sponsorship, tend to believe that a one-race deal can be the solution to evaluate the potential results of a year-long sports sponsorship, but it is not.
A sports sponsorship is a toolbox and every brand needs a learning time and a strategy to fully optimise it and generate the first results, that's why one-off activities are not generally the way to go.
A one-race deal is anti-economical and difficult to integrate into a wider brand marketing strategy. Moreover, the personnel inside the brand does not have the time to understand how to utilise the sponsorship assets.
So, we could say that overall a one-race deal is bad. However, there are situations in which can be useful. For example, if your objectives as a brand are focused on that single market and your only ambitions are media value generation and delivery of hospitality experiences, it can work.
Also, if you have already signed a sports sponsorship deal for the season after, you can use the one-race deal to announce the deal and have your marketing team familiarise with the team.
In conclusion, a one-race deal can be useful in a couple of situations but it is not an alternative to a full season deal. Instead, it can be a total waste of money if there is no strategic reason behind it.