Herr Geistdorfer goes visiting

CHRISTIAN GEISTDORFER made his name as the co-driver of double World Rally Champion Walter Rohrl in the early 1980s. Nowadays he runs a sports promotion business and is heavily involved with the new Deutschland Rally - which will be held in the Trier area in August - while also keeping an eye on Warsteiner's activities in automobile racing.

Warsteiner is a minor sponsor of the McLaren team, the deal having been running now for nearly five years - a typical McLaren contract length.

What is interesting is that Warsteiner has been losing market share in the beer markets of Europe and may be looking at increasing its activities in the sport - either with McLaren or perhaps with another team.

Warsteiner is Germany's biggest brand but the highly fragmented market has meant that in order to stand out from its rivals Warsteiner has been active in motor racing sponsorship since the early 1970s, starting out in the junior formulae. Peter Scharmann, for example, won the German Formula 3 title in 1977 in a Warsteiner-sponsored car. The company then backed the efforts of Rolf Stommelen in F1 and in 1977 began an association with the then new Arrows team. The gold Warsteiner Arrows were a feature of the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons with drivers Riccardo Patrese and Jochen Mass. In the 1980s Warsteiner continued to build the brand in Europe through an association with the Schnitzer BMW touring car team which won all the major European titles with driver Roberto Ravaglia. In the mid-1990s Warsteiner decided to embark on a global expansion program and decided that Grand Prix racing was the perfect was to do it.

As the sponsorship comes up for renewal, it may be that Warsteiner is looking for a bit more space to help raise its profile (and its sales).

Geistdorfer seemed quite interested in Sauber...

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