Red Bull and Sauber

THE announcement in Melbourne that Arrows will have sponsorship from Red Bull this year was something of surprise in Formula 1 circles as it will mean that this year there will be two cars running with the branding of the Austrian high energy drink. The arrangement has come about because of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz's desire to support Enrique Bernoldi and is an indication that Mateschitz was not entirely happy with the Sauber team's decision not to sign up the Brazilian.

Peter Sauber is now saying that the relationship between Sauber and Red Bull will finish at the end of the season and Mateschitz and Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw are clearly moving towards a greater involvement in the future. This helps to explain Walkinshaw's decision to ditch the experienced Pedro de la Rosa and sign up novice Bernoldi.

Divorcing from Sauber will not be an easy business for Red Bull as Mateschitz is the majority shareholder of the Sauber team. However he does not control the majority of the voting shares and so has very little actual control, a position which he obviously finds frustrating.

Peter Sauber says that he does not have a problem with the situation and that if Mateschitz wishes to sell his shares it is his prerogative to do so. Sauber has first option to buy the shares.

The arrival of Red Bull at Arrows is a boost for the team which had seemed to be struggling for cash. The other sponsors involved are much as before but there was one bizarre note in the package as Eurobet, which last week announced that it would not be involved in F1 in 2001, is on the car. One can only presume that as Eurobet is owned by Arrows team partner Morgan Grenfell Private Equity the team has agreed to provide the firm with free publicity.

This is not as stupid as it sounds as it helps to maintain the image that Arrows is a well -supported team.

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