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Coca-Cola's F1 plans

MORE has emerged in recent days about Coca-Cola's plans to enter Formula 1 and we hear that rather than going for one big sponsorship of a team the drinks company is planning to enter the sport with a blend of team sponsorship, driver backing, trackside signage and probably as the official supplier to the World Championship. This should not be overlooked as tens of thousands of drinks are sold at every Formula 1 event and if supplies are restricted to Coca-Cola company products the company stands to gain considerable income from events.

Coke remains the strongest brand in the world although marketing experts say that the brand lost 13% of its brand value last year as a result of the health scare in Belgium which dented the company's image. Thus a direct sponsorship of a team is not the obvious thing to do. Local promotions around Grands Prix events, using high profile drivers, will probably be more effective while trackside signage will link the drink to the sport.

We hear that the push to be involved in F1 comes not from Coca-Cola in the United States but rather from Coca-Cola's European subsidiaries and backing is currently being tried out on Justin Wilson's Formula 3000 entry. The Coca-Cola representatives who appeared in Hungary are talking about small deals on cars and are believed to be discussing possibilities with mid-ranking teams, notably Jordan, Benetton and Arrows. There were also talks with Ferrari in Hungary.

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