Electronics giant LG could be on the verge of ramping up its involvement in Formula One, with talk of a possible sponsorship deal with one of the 13 teams scheduled to be on the grid next season..
Although no specifics have been revealed, LG representatives would not rule out the possibility of the company extending its successful relationship with the sport, based on a multi-million dollar deal with Berne Ecclestone's Formula One Management [FOM], into a partnership a little further down the pecking order in order to bring the brand's involvement to greater public prominence.
As F1's 'official technology partner', LG's sponsorship of FOM is understood to be in the region of US$12-15m a season, with four-and-a-half years still to run on the deal, but has already been deemed so successful that the company is considering branching further into the sport, with vice-president of corporate sponsorships Andrew Barrett refusing to rule out the possibility of sponsoring a team when interviewed by Motor Sport Business Forum
“I can't talk specifically because we aren't necessarily done with those discussions," he revealed, when asked how close LG had come to sponsoring a team before signing the FOM deal, "We decided to make our first foray into F1 by sponsoring the league [sic
] and establishing this as the foundation of our relationship with the championship. But I don't think we're done yet. I wouldn't say we're going to do a team deal, but I wouldn't preclude it either.“
While a deal with an existing team would be considered preferential in terms of earning instant success on track, such a relationship would not only be costly but also fraught with conflicts with existing backers. As such, sponsoring one of the sport's three newcomers - all poised to begin their involvement in 2010 - may provide an alternative outlet for LG.
US F1 has long insisted that it has much of its backing in place, while Manor F1 has been touted as a potential alternative host for Richard Branson's Virgin brand following its high-profile/low cost debut with Brawn GP in 2009. Campos Grand Prix, meanwhile, expects to reveal more about its programme at next month's European Grand Prix in Valencia.