Compaq to strike Formula One deal

Williams cars may carry computer giant’s logo if £15m sponsorship deal is struck for next season

Compaq is poised to replace Rothmans as the main sponsor of the BMW Williams Formula One team in a deal worth up to &£15m.

The computer company is expected to sign a deal – rumoured to be worth up to &£15m – in the next two weeks to make it the main sponsor from next season.

The computer giant is pushing for the two Williams cars to carry its red and grey corporate colours.

Hamish Haynes, who was appointed Compaq UK marketing communications director two months ago, says: “We want the cars in the relevant colours, with our logo strategically placed.”

The terms of the deal, which are being negotiated in Munich, home to Compaq’s European head office, are being kept secret.

Haynes says Formula One sponsorship will work well for Compaq as the sport is “hi-tech” and Compaq is repositioning its overall brand as “non-stop”.

BMW’s opposition to being associated with a tobacco company influenced Rothmans’ decision to end its sponsorship at the end of this season. Rothmans’ merger with British & American Tobacco, which owns the British American Racing team, was also a factor. The new season will mark BMW’s return to Formula One after more than 12 years.

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