Howell, who has spent the past two years as head of digital for F1, has more than 30 years’ experience in the international sports communications and media markets. Previously, he worked as director of communications at the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and prior to that was head of communications at McLaren.
Howell takes up the new position with immediate effect and will report to managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches.
“As we embark on an exciting new chapter in Formula 1’s history, Norman brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective to the newly enhanced leadership team,” said Bratches.
“His extensive and demonstrated experience leading communications strategies for many of the world’s most prestigious motorsport brands, together with his background as a journalist and social media specialist, align well with our objectives to broaden Formula 1’s appeal and proactively engage the marketplace to elevate the exciting changes that we are envisioning and implementing.”
Howell added: “Formula 1 has an exciting and innovative vision for the sport. We want fans to get closer to the action on and off the track, with new levels of entertainment and engagement. If we can do this, Formula 1 will continue to be one of the biggest sporting brands in the world.”
Howell's involvement with sport extends beyond just motor racing, he also served as the UFC’s vice president of corporate communications for Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s marketing and communications plans across the regions.
The new F1 season starts next month and will be the first in 39 years without Bernie Ecclestone at the helm following Liberty Media's takeover of the sport. In addition to new leadership and rule changes, Heineken has come on board as one of the main sponsors and has vowed to use its digital expertise across activating sports sponsorships to help turnaround the sport's declining audience figures.