A famous Formula 1 sponsor in trouble

Parmalat, the sponsor of the Brabham team for many years in the 1970s and 1980s has run into big trouble with the Italian authorities with its founder and former head Calisto Tanzi being arrested over the weekend as part of the investigation into an alleged fraud. The company itself is now insolvent. For years Parmalat was one of Italy's biggest success stories and had grown to become Italy's eighth largest company with 35,000 employees and a turnover of more than $7.5bn in 2002.

Parmalat began sponsoring in F1 in 1976 with Niki Lauda and in 1978 became the title sponsor of the Brabham. In 1985 Parmalat ceased its involvement with Brabham but continued to be associated with Lauda. The company returned to F1 in 1995 with the Forti team, thanks to its connections with the Diniz Family. When Pedro Diniz moved to Ligier in 1996 Parmalat followed and then joined Diniz at Arrows in 1997 and 1998 and Sauber in 1999.

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