Honda website
Honda website

JUNE 3, 2004

Shell and Formula 1

The partnership between Shell and Ferrari comes to an end at the end of the 2005 and both parties are now in the process of negotiating for a new deal. Shell is believed to be paying Ferrari a minimum of $25m a year in addition to technical support, which has been an important element in Ferrari's success as Shell's fuels are very light and thus have allowed Ferrari to lose less performance when running with big fuel loads.

Shell and Ferrari have worked together on and off since 1950 although for a long period Ferrari went off and did a deal with Agip. The current deal with Ferrari was designed to build an association with the Ferrari Prancing Horse logo, one of the best known brands in the world, and this has been very successful but now Shell is looking at whether there might be better deals on offer elsewhere both in terms of sponsorship space and links with other manufacturers. The Honda-Shell relationship was a very strong one in the 1980s and 1990s and there is little doubt that BAR would love to land a sponsor of Shell's stature. At the same time there are other oil companies which would love to become partners with Ferrari.

It is perhaps worth noting that there have been rumours that NASCAR was going to do an official fuel deal with Shell to replace the deal with Sunoco. This has been firmly denied by NASCAR which has only just begun the 10-year deal with Sunoco.

In all probability Shell and Ferrari will stay together and build up their brands still further but it would be unusual if either party did not look elsewhere to see what else was on offer.