SEPTEMBER 6, 2006
Kovalainen but no sponsorship
Renault's announcement that Heikki Kovalainen will join Giancarlo Fisichella next year with the addition of two new test drivers and the news that Flavio Briatore will stay or for two more years has obscured one important fact: the team does not have a title sponsor for next season. Mild Seven announced back in February that it is not staying in 2007 and there have been rumours from Spain that Telefonica is no longer interested given Fernando Alonso's defection to McLaren. Telefonica cannot follow Fernando to McLaren because the team has backing from rival Vodafone.
There are two possible explanations for this. The first is that the team does not yet have a deal with anyone. This would be very bad news as big companies are generally finished with their deal-making by this time of year and so deals done later than the start of September are usually cheaper. The second is that the team has a deal with a new sponsor but does not want to announce it until the season ends. The reason for this is that there could be a clash with one of the existing sponsors.
Our spies tell us that the team is in deep discussion with UPS and that if the deal goes ahead the Renault next year could be brown and white.
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