Telcos may drive F1 sponsorship shake-up

08 Oct 2012

Formula One (F1) driver Lewis Hamilton’s decision to switch teams in 2013 could have big implications for Vodafone’s sponsorship of the McLaren Mercedes team the driver is leaving.

You see his replacement at the team is Sergio Perez, a Mexican driver who has shown a lot of promise during the 2012 season – he was tipped for a drive with Ferrari before the McLaren deal -, but who has also enjoyed strong support from telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim in his career to date, motorsport news site reports.

Indeed, anyone who follows the sport will notice Telmex – a Slim company – is currently a sponsor of the Sauber team, who Perez currently drives for.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that Slim would welcome a tie-up with McLaren, one of the oldest and best established teams on the F1 grid, and that’s where the implications for Vodafone come in. It has a long-standing relationship with the team, but Slim’s pockets may prove deeper and a switch to Telmex branding for 2013 tempting.

However, that may not necessarily be a bad thing for Vodafone. The global operator may welcome the chance to tie up a deal with Mercedes, the team Hamilton is moving to. His move was apparently motivated as much by the fact that team allows him more opportunities to promote his own brand. Vodafone may do well by tagging along for the ride.

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