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Federal Express comes to Benetton's rescue

THE international courier company Federal Express will announce on the Thursday before the British Grand Prix that it is to become a major sponsor of the Benetton Formula 1 team. The deal means that Benetton will be able to afford to conclude its engine supply deal with Mecachrome for 1998 and 1999 and this may also be announced during the British Grand Prix weekend.

The Federal Express deal has been found for Benetton by sponsorship agency API Sponsorship - which has an exclusive contract to find backing for the team. The company was responsible for getting Gillette and Korean Air sponsorship for the team this year.

API has effectively taken over the sponsor-hunting work of the team and the team's marketing director John Postlethwaite is to leave Enstone shortly. He is expected to set up his own sponsor-hunting agency.

The Federal Express deal may well lead to other courier companies becoming involved in F1 as there is a four-way battle going on in the world's courier markets between Federal Express, United Parcel Service, TNT and DHL. The only company which is unlikely to appear in F1 is UPS which is involved mainly in the American market.

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