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Benetton and the beer empire

BENETTON FORMULA will soon announce a major new sponsorship arrangement with Indian businessman Veejay Malik, owner of the Kingfisher beer brand, a huge seller on the Indian sub-continent.

At the moment Benetton has a large sponsorship deal with Bitburger beer and the team is hoping to continue the arrangement next year - although there are rumors that the company is only interested in being connected with Michael Schumacher and may move to Ferrari with him, as a personal sponsor.

Whatever the case, however, there is likely to be some form of deal between Benetton and Malik, as the Italians are keen to use his vast distribution network in India, where it is planning to open several hundred shops within the next year or two. The income from such a deal would fund the racing, giving Malik what would amount to free advertising on the racing cars.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is also very keen on the deal as it will increase Indian interest in F1 hugely. The vast population of India currently has little interest in F1 and the television viewing figures are unimpressive.

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