DECEMBER 7, 2001
Jaguar and BP
As we speculated as long ago as last May, British Petroleum is rumored to be entering Formula 1 in 2002 and the recent announcement that Texaco is stopping its involvement with Jaguar Racing would seem to suggest that this is where BP will end up.
The company's chairman Sir John Browne was in Monaco and Hungary last year and spent most of his time with Williams (as the team is sponsored by BP subsidiary Castrol) but the Jaguar connection makes a lot of sense as the company wants to stick to its green and yellow color scheme, in part because of its environmental policies and in part because of its wish to promote its "British-ness". The deal is believed to include a first-fill agreement between BP and the Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group.
BP has expanded dramatically in recent years with the acquisition of Amoco and ARCO and the company has now begun a rebranding operation to use the BP name and logo around the world. Midway through last season NASCAR Winston Cup team Bill Davis Racing switched from Amoco to BP branding and the imminent arrival of BP's rival Esso with the Toyota Team may also have played a part in the BP decision-making.
Although a longtime supporter of racing in recent years BP has been promoting an environmental image and has stayed away from the sport but it is now concentrating more on switching that image towards innovation and high technology and so F1 fits the bills neatly.