OCTOBER 6, 2000
Prost and Canon
The word on the street in the Suzuka paddock is that Alain Prost may have a sponsorship deal with the Japanese camera company Canon as part of his package of deals next year. The Japanese photographic company was involved in sportscar racing in the early 1980s and then moved to Formula 1 as a major sponsor of Williams between 1985 and 1993.
Prost is negotiating with a number of companies as he looks for a replacement for Gauloises Blondes. The French tobacco company says that it is not going to be in Formula 1 next year, except as a trackside sponsor at the Monaco Grand Prix. The firm has decided that it will now expand its involvement in motorcycle racing with an increased involvement in the 500cc World Championship with plans for title sponsorship of four or five Grands Prix, a bigger presence on signage and expansion of its involvement with individual teams.
Alain Prost admitted in Japan that he is in talks with the Spanish telephone company Telefonica about a major deal but his talks with Pedro Diniz appear to have faded and so the Brazilian is expected to stay at Sauber with his backing from Parmalat. There continues to be talk of a deal with the Belgian brewing firm Interbrew but there seems to have been some confusion regarding that deal as it may have been linked with the abortive bid by a Canadian consortium to buy a part of Prost Grand Prix.
Our sources say that Prost has agreed a deal to sell a percentage of one of the holding companies of the team (and there is a highly-complicated structure of ownership at Prost which involves as many as 12 different firms) but it is not clear who has bought what.
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