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BAT puts back launch date again

THE announcement of the British American Tobacco-sponsored Reynard Formula 1 team has been put back again and will now take place on December 6. There will be a separate launch for the branding of the team as BAT has a number of different tobacco brands to choose from. The most likely sponsorship will be using the Lucky Strike brand but it is possible that either 555 or even Kool could be used.

We expect the Formula 1 team to be just a part of a much bigger sponsorship deal which will include a variety of teams in different formulae, running in identical livery at minimal extra cost. The aim of this is to maximize the value of the deal for the sponsors by multiplying the markets and identifying the sponsor as a major player in the sport. The multiple series idea also creates a pool of talented engineers, mechanics and drivers, who will be trained within the organization and help it to maintain continuity. In recent years the idea has been gaining ground in American racing with Forsythe Racing and Team Green. Forsythe currently runs not only a CART team but also Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic. All are sponsored by Players. Forsythe is believed to be pursuing the idea with a team in touring car racing and also a driving school. Forsythe offers the major sponsor 50% of the equity in the deal so that there can be fewer sponsors which receive more coverage - this is another trend which is appearing in F1 with the teams like McLaren and Sauber.

It is expected that the BAT Reynard operation will include not only F1 but also the CART operation and probably FormulaŹ3000 and Indy Lights, all linked. The intention is also to have the same engine supplier for as many of the teams as possible and thus it is to be expected that the F1 operation will run either Honda or Renault engines. The sudden departure of Dario Franchitti - who is managed by Craig Pollock and Julian Jakobi (the men behind the new teams) - to Team Green (which is sponsored by Kool) suggests that this will be part of the new empire. It remains to be seen whether the identical livery concept will be restricted by regional markets or whether BAT will go for one worldwide image.

Reynard is gearing up for the launch with building work at Brackley already well-advanced on its new corporate headquarters.

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