FEBRUARY 24, 2004
TAG Heuer gives up F1 timekeeping deal
In a very cleverly-worded press release TAG Heuer has announced that it is to "relinquish its FIA Formula One timekeeping activity after 12 years of participation". The company is to remain involved as a sponsor of McLaren while also branching out into the Indy Racing League, where it will be the official timekeeper this year. The company will also have personal deals with IRL Champion Scott Dixon and Sarah Fisher.
The news is not a great surprise given that TAG Heuer took much of the blame for what happened in Interlagos last year when the wrong winner was declared after a chaotic Brazilian GP. The timing of F1 is done nowadays by the Formula One group and the partnership with TAG Heuer was for the supply of equipment and sponsorship for FOM.
The time-keeping in F1 is thus not in any doubt for this season but it remains to be seen which company will take up the role. The frontrunner for the job seems to be Swatch, which was involved in the sport in the 1970s and 1980s under the Tissot name, as a sponsor of Team Lotus and Renault. The company quit F1 in 1983 when it merged with Asuag and in 1997 this organisation rebranded itself as Swatch.
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