David Coulthard believes Heineken has made the Formula 1 paddock a more vibrant place since they announced a multi-year deal with the sport in 2016.
The former McLaren driver is the brewing company's brand ambassador and is a key participant in their campaigns 'More than a Race' and 'When you Drive, Never Drink'.
Heineken along with F1's new owners Liberty Media are on a mission to make the sport more of a global spectacle rather than just a race. The new owners made it clear that they want to make F1 a combination of sport and entertainment similar to the American National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl.
The company's More than a Race campaign is aiming to do just that as they create fan festivals at the race venues from the start of the weekend until race day. This enables fans to be more involved and enjoy the three-day event that Formula 1 is rather than just the race itself.
Coulthard, who has tipped Lewis Hamilton over Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 title, believes their global recognition as a lifestyle brand that promotes good times has brought a unique energy to the paddock during race weekends. Apart from making it entertaining, Heineken is also using their brand to promote the message of never drinking when you drive with ex-F1 driver Sir Jackie Stewart leading the way.
"I think what's great about Heineken is that very few partners come into a sport and are universally welcomed, bringing something more than simply taking away their needs. Heineken have brought an incredible energy and an expertise from their other global sports relationships with football and rugby," Coulthard told IBTimes UK after the Italian Grand Prix in Monza earlier this month.
"They come in peace, they come as a premium quality brand that is about good times, so it has been accepted into the paddock in a way that you don't see very often at all.
"Partners tend to come to an individual team and it becomes self-serving between the partner and F1 management and the television audience. Heineken being a lifestyle, premium brand focused on bringing people together, has meant that the bar has become a social venue in the paddock to meet," the former McLaren and Red Bull Racing driver explained.
"So, whether you're drinking a 0.0 or a regular Heineken you can be brought together in that environment. They have brought energy to the paddock the likes of which I don't recall since Red Bull."