Scuderia Toro Rosso has denied that it is to move east and be rebranded as Team UAE, despite confirming sponsorship from companies owned by an Abu Dhabi conglomerate.
The Italian midfielder this week confirmed that Spanish oil giant CEPSA will join Nova Chemicals and Falcon Private Bank as a sponsor, but insists that the deal does not mean a wholesale change of ownership and a new livery, as was rumoured recently [HERE
]. CEPSA logos will appear on the STR6's nose, rear wing and endplates from this weekend's Italian GP at Monza, but team principal Franz Tost maintains that there are no plans to sell out to the oil company or its new owner, Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company.
"These companies are sponsors, not investors or shareholders in the Toro Rosso team," Tost told The National
newspaper, before also rubbishing suggestions that STR would quit its ageing Faenza facility for a new base in Abu Dhabi.
The Yas Marina circuit which could have become Toro Rosso's new home, meanwhile, has inked a sponsorship deal of its own, extending its existing deal with Etihad Airways through to the end of 2015.
"This sponsorship extension goes against the current commercial trend of shorter sponsorship terms and demonstrates our long-term commitment to F1," the airline's CEO James Hogan claimed, "The additional four-year term also allows us to strengthen our footprint with F1 and leverage our investment in their global platform more strategically."
Etihad's F1 involvement has also included team sponsorship with Spyker and Ferrari in recent years.
Sponsorship has also been at the forefront of the row over Nick Heidfeld's sacking from the Lotus Renault team and, while the German has since reached an amicable settlement, the announcement of four new backers - including two closely linked to replacement Bruno Senna - will do little to dissuade the media from speculating that money was the underlying reason for Heidfeld's departure.
Finally, in a week where there were more than the average number of sponsorship moves, Melbourne City Council has signed $500,000 for the next three races at Albert Park, despite calls for the city's relationship with F1 to be abandoned.
"While the event is here in Melbourne, I support it, and the city will support events in the city of Melbourne that promote tourism to Melbourne," mayor Robert Doyle told the Herald Sun