Shell to join forces with Ferrari

Motor racing
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The Independent Online
Motor racing

Shell yesterday announced they are to sponsor Ferrari next season, hours after the Italian state oil company AGIP had signalled the end of its 21-year association with the famous Formula One team.

Shell, who will take over from 1 January, raced with Ferrari from 1951 to 1973. "To date 18 drivers and 11 constructors' world championships have been won using Shell products and we are looking forward to continuing our success with Ferrari," the company said in a statement.

Earlier AGIP and Ferrari announced they would part company at the end of the 1995 season. AGIP, whose fire-breathing six-legged dragon emblem is a familiar sight to Grand Prix fans, expressed concern last month about the huge cost to Ferrari in signing Germany's world champion, Michael Schumacher.

The joint statement did not mention Schumacher, but said instead the decision not to renew the sponsorship deal after 21 years was due to "a careful analysis of the changes that have occurred in Formula One."

Last month, the AGIP spokesman Umberto Esposito said the amount Ferrari were rumoured to have spent on Schumacher did not make economic sense. "If Formula One is going crazy in terms of investment figures, we are naturally not willing to go down that road," he said.

No financial details of the agreement with Schumacher have been released but Italian newspapers have reported it could cost Ferrari around 75 billion lire (pounds 30m).

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