AirAsia will carry over its F1 sponsorship programme from Team Lotus to Caterham F1, as the team undergoes an identity change ahead of the 2012 campaign.
The no-frills carrier has agreed a one-year extension to its sponsorship deal, and will now appear on the flanks of the first Caterham F1 cars as the team prepares to enter 2012 under its new identity. The announcement comes as no surprise, however, as Caterham F1 CEO Tony Fernandes also owns AirAsia
"Under the extension, AirAsia shall be an official team partner of Caterham F1 and title sponsors of the programme for the duration of the 2012 F1 racing season at the same terms as provided in the agreement, except in relation to the sponsorship amount from the company to Caterham F1,” an official statement from the airline confirmed.
According to a filing to the Bursa Malaysia, AirAsia has 'committed $1.14m for company media space and a further $315,000 for additional advertising, on-ground and PR-related activities'.
The agreement is part of the company's bid to use sports sponsorship to back up sports-related themed sales campaigns for its flight destinations, and change perceptions of the brand as a 'low-cost' carrier.
Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli are currently listed to drive the two Caterham entries in 2012, although some doubt still remains over just how watertight the Italian's deal is. Bruno Senna, Jerome d'Ambrosio and, perhaps most significantly, Vitaly Petrov have all been linked with Trulli's seat in recent weeks.
AirAsia will rejoin General Electric, Dell, Tune Group, Naza and CNN on Caterham's sponsorship roster, and is again expected to lend its name to the team's young driver development programme, which featured the likes of American Alexander Rossi and Briton Matt Parry on its books in 2011.