Panasonic has renewed its title sponsorship of the Toyota Formula 1 team. The consumer electronics company’s deal was due to expire at the end of the 2009 season but this has now been extended until 2012.
Panasonic, whose South Korean rival LG Electronics is now an official sponsor of the series, has backed Toyota since their Formula One debut in 2002.
The move comes despite the global recession, which has placed a number of Formula 1 sponsorships in doubt. Toyota’s Japanese rival Honda has been forced to pull out of F1 because of the worldwide economic crisis, and it is looking for a buyer for the team. It is understood there are a number of interested parties but, with the new season starting in March, a deal has yet to be signed.
Tadashi Yamashina, senior managing director for motorsports at Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota team principal, says he would like to extend his “deepest thanks” to Panasonic for continuing as our title sponsor, despite the particularly harsh economic climate.
He adds: “The team will redouble its efforts this year in order to achieve its long-sought-after first victory.”