MAY 4, 2002
Why Ford is staying in F1...
IT is currently the vogue to question whether, in these times of economic caution, whether one can be certain that the automobile manufacturers are committed the sport of whether they will axe sporting programs to meet savings targets. In fact when one analyses what is happening in the industry it is fair to say that there is more investment now than there has been in recent years.
The best example of this is the Ford Motor Company. There are massive cuts to be made but none of them are happening in racing: Volvo is making a push in touring car racing; Aston Martin is expected to go to Le Mans soon and despite poor results Jaguar is still going strong in Formula 1. And in NASCAR Ford is upping its involvement with a massive 84 advertising slots planned this year during the NASCAR coverage. Last year Ford purchased no slots at all.
This year there will be six different advertisements including one featuring William Clay Ford himself. In addition to this it is reported that Ford is buying up track signage at NASCAR events.
DaimlerChrysler is certainly not pulling back on its plans with Mercedes-Benz in F1, Dodge in NASCAR, Mitsubishi in rallying and it is believed a new Chrysler engine program in CART.
Ferrari says it is currently formulating plans for its sister company Maserati to make a big impression in the sport. Renault shows signs of expanding its activities and Toyota too is also moving to bigger and better things.
The cries that manufacturers will abandon F1 seem to be rather far-fetched...
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