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McLaren's beer money

MCLAREN has announced another major new sponsorship deal, in addition to the deals already made public involving Schweppes and Finlandia Vodka. The team has landed a major deal with German brewery Warsteiner, a company with a long history of involvement in motor racing, dating back to 1978 when the company supported the brand new Arrows team and driver Rolf Stommelen. The Warsteiner sponsorship went on in 1979 and 1980 with Jochen Mass and Riccardo╩Patrese. At the end of 1981 the relationship ended but Warsteiner then moved on to begin a highly successful relationship with BMW in touring car racing.

McLaren will launch its new McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 at a technical launch in Woking later this week, although the team is expected to have a more spectacular sponsorship launch at some point after the new car has been tested.

Warsteiner will also be seen on the McLaren Junior Team Formula 3000 cars. The team will run two cars: one for German Nick Heidfeld and the other for a driver yet to be decided. Among those being mentioned are Frenchman Soleil Ayari, who is looking for a top drive in the series this year, having won his first race in Helsinki last year in the course of his first season in the championship. Ayari has been mentioned as a possible candidate for test drives with both Williams and Prost - and tested the Williams before Christmas - but as neither of the teams appear to be taking him up this highly-rated youngster may fall into the hands of McLaren.

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