Honda F1 website

DECEMBER 16, 2004

Vodafone and Ferrari

The original three-year Vodafone sponsorship deal with Ferrari is believed to have been organised through Philip Morris, which is said to have a huge deal which allows it to control all sponsorship on the F1 cars. Other sponsors are believed to buy space from the tobacco giant, which helps them to offset their costs. The Vodafone deal is believed to have involved an option for the mobile phone giant to buy the right to the whole car if (or when) Philip Morris was forced to leave the sport. The original deal was worth around $150m back in 2002 although the slide in the value of the dollar and the success enjoyed by Ferrari has probably pushed the price up considerably. At the very least the deal will be worth $50m a year to Ferrari. Negotiations have been dragging on throughout the autumn (as have talks with Shell) but the fact that the new Vodafone deal is for two years would seem to suggest that Philip Morris is going to stay on in the sport at least until the end of 2006 when international anti-tobacco legislation kicks in.

It is expected that Vodafone will also be a sponsor a team with Ferrari connections in the GP2 series, although that deal has yet to be confirmed.