Benetton ousts F1 sponsor chief

Benetton Formula One has axed commercial chief Brian Sims after only six months, as its new owner Renault takes a firm grip on the motor racing outfit.

Sims, a founder member of the Motorsport Industry Association and former API Motorsport managing director, is understood to have left without a job to go to. He has been replaced by Paul Jordan.

Sims is the first victim of Renault’s new regime. Last month, the French car giant drafted in former Benetton F1 boss Flavio Briatore to shake up the business, after sealing the acquisition nearly three months ago.

Sims was responsible for securing all sponsorship and licensing deals for the team. Benetton’s “official partner” is Japan Tobacco-owned cigarette brand Mild Seven.

Briatore left Benetton F1 nearly 18 months ago following reports of a bust-up with the Benetton family, but he has now been briefed by the new owner to turn the team into a major force in the sport.

As part of the deal, the Benetton name will disappear from the cars by the 2002 season, to be replaced by Renault branding. The manufacturer will join rivals BMW, Ford (with Jaguar Racing) and Ferrari on the F1 grid.

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