The persistent rumours suggesting that the Coca-Cola Company was finally going to join the list of mega brands involved in F1 have finally proven to be true - although it is not the iconic red-and-white logo that race fans will be seeing from next season.

Instead, the company has decided to take on Red Bull at its own game, using its 'burn' [sic energy brand to adorn the flanks of its chosen team. Again, the rumour mill suggested that the partner may be McLaren but, on that count, the whispers were wrong, with Coca-Cola tagging Lotus instead.

"We're honoured to announce that we have joined the Lotus F1 team and are set to enter the world of F1 racing," a brief statement on the burn corporate website confirmed

"The Lotus team is the number one emerging challenger in the sport and has demonstrated exceptional creativity in their approach to F1. We [intend] to foster that creativity by incorporating art and music in a way that will break the conventions of traditional F1 sponsorship."

The news will come as some comfort to anyone believing reports that the team was struggling to pay salaries in recent weeks, although the extent of the relationship remains to be seen.

"We are proud that The Coca-Cola Company has chosen Lotus F1 Team as the best vehicle to represent the burn brand in its most high profile partnership," team principal Eric Boullier commented, "We are excited to partner with burn to build a new and innovative model for sponsorships that will combine experiences, content creation and social media."

burn will not only be taking on Red Bull on track next season, but also Lucozade, which backs McLaren as part of the Woking team's deal with GlaxoSmithKline, and Monster, which features among Mercedes' backers.