MAY 8, 2002
Ferrari drivers do business
MICHAEL and Ralf Schumacher have recently announced a deal with a Helsinki-based telecommunications company called Sports Telecom for the development of a range of mobile phone products and services which will be produced with their branding. The company provides everything from mobile phone covers to icons, ringing tones, screen pictures and games.
What is not widely known is that the company is co-owned by former Ferrari F1 driver Stefan Johansson.
The 43-year-old Swede was the 1980 British Formula 3 Champion before moving into F1 with Spirit-Honda in 1982. He struggled to find regular work until 1985 when Ferrari unexpectedly fired Rene Arnoux and he was drafted in as a replacement. He scored two second places in Canada and Detroit and earned another year with the team in 1986 before moving to McLaren as partner to Alain Prost in 1987. Replaced by Ayrton Senna in 1988 Johansson made a disastrous move to Ligier but his career seemed to be on the up again with the new Onyx team in 1989 until Swiss eccentric Peter Monteverdi took over the team and Stefan was ditched. His F1 career then petered out with Arrows and AGS before he headed to the United States to race in CART. In recent years he has turned to team management but still races in sportscars, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1997.
Sports Telecom's decision to be headquartered in Finland is because of the cluster of mobile phone technology companies in what they like to called "Mobile Valley".
The company intends to follow up the Schumacher deals with more sports and entertainment deals
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