The beleaguered Sauber F1 team received a welcome boost ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after revealing that it had agreed a two-race sponsorship deal with fast food giant Burger King.

The Swiss team has fielded a brace of largely unadorned cars this season, with lead driver Pedro de la Rosa admitting that the lack of additional funding had hampered progress, both with new developments and reliability. Although eponymous team owner Peter Sauber insists that the finance is in place to see out 2010, the Burger King deal - which is for the season's two Spanish races in Barcelona and Valencia - will comes a vital injection.

"We are proud to be appearing in Spain alongside the global brand of Burger King," Sauber claimed, "In F1, the vast restaurant chain sector has hardly been tapped."

The restaurant chain's famous logo will appear on both the side and nose of the Saubers driven by de la Rosa and rookie team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, as the team seeks its first points of the year at the Circuit de Catalunya. Burger King Iberia general manager Elias Diaz Sese admitted that the presence of under-fire de la Rosa had been a key element in securing the deal with Sauber.

"To become official partner of such an established F1 team allows us to share values such as passion for constant evolution, maximum quality in products and services and permanent innovation," Sese noted, "An added benefit is the fact that you provide F1 and Burger King fans with good times.

"The presence of Pedro Mart?nez de la Rosa as a team driver is important, not only due to the fact he's Spanish, but also because he transmits certain values as a sportsman. His personality perfectly fits with the Burger King brand philosophy: enthusiasm for his job, kindness, optimism, professionalism, and a whole-life dedication to his passion."

Sauber's announcement topped others made by teams up and down the pit-lane on the eve of the first European round of 2010, with Virgin, Toro Rosso, Mercedes and Red Bull all revealing new or extended partnerships.

Virgin Racing may have lost the gamble to introduce two reworked versions of its VR-01 for Barcelona, but did manage to conclude a new partnership with Full Tilt Poker.net. The online brand will be a major partner, with significant branding on Virgin's cars, drivers and team apparel, as well as other elements of the team's on-track and off-track environment. The partnership concludes discussions between the two parties dating back to the team's inception last year.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Full Tilt Poker.net to Virgin Racing," CEO Graeme Lowdon said, "We are proud to add an industry-leading brand to our healthy partnership portfolio and I am particularly pleased that we have worked hard together with a partner who has seen the team develop from its birth through to our first competitive steps. We look forward to going racing together with effect from this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, where Full Tilt Poker.net will have a significant presence, and to helping the brand to achieve its marketing and business objectives in the longer term."

Elsewhere, Toro Rosso has reached a long-term sponsorship agreement with Liechtenstein-based finance company Money Service Group, which will see the brand's dragon logo appear on the cockpit sides, as well as on the team vehicles, driver race suits and team clothing. The Money Service Group's involvement is another step towards increasing awareness of the brand, following on from its sponsorship of last winter's Alpine Ski World Cup and the ski jumping FIS Team Tour.

"This is a very encouraging development for us, as currently there are not so many new sponsors coming into F1 and we are proud of the fact that this company, which is new to our sport, has chosen Scuderia Toro Rosso," team principal Franz Tost commented, "As an emerging company, Money Service Group has proved that you have to be innovative to become an important player, which is a business plan that we as a F1 team would like to emulate. Hopefully, working together, the Bull and the Dragon will prove to be a winning combination!"

Mercedes, meanwhile, has extended its partnership with STL Communications Limited, prolonging a deal that has seen the pair together since its establishment as BAR in 1998.

"We are delighted to extend our partnership with STL, who have worked for the team for a considerable period of time," team CEO Nick Fry said, "This experience and
knowledge enables STL to understand our business intimately and achieve the tight deadlines that F1 requires. We look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with them over the course of the 2010 season."

Finally, Red Bull Racing announce that FIR-TEX - standing for Far Infrared Rays TEXtile - has joined the team as an 'innovation partner'. The agreement means that Red Bull Racing's Pit Crew will wear FIR-TEX's revolutionary FIR-VEST underneath its team clothing during the remaining 2010 grands prix.

Shown to improve circulation, balance and wellbeing, the FIR-VEST uses Far Infrared Rays, which are 'healthy' radiations and which 'switch on' when activated by body heat, to protect the wearer from stressful electromagnetic radiation and increase power and endurance - important aspects within the demanding world of F1.

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