BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO has confirmed that when Prodrive boss David Richards took over the running of British American Racing, part of the deal was that the tobacco company would lengthen its sponsorship of the team for another five years. In theory at least this will take BAT's involvement in F1 to the end of 2006, when there is expected to be a global ban on all tobacco advertising in motorsport.

There had been suggestions that BAT was trying to sell the team and get out of Formula 1. BAT may still sell the team (BAT has also confirmed officially that Richards has an option to buy the BAT shares) but the sponsorship will continue. The name of the team may, however, change as Richards puts together his full marketing package for the long term.

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