OCTOBER 30, 2009

Mobil en route to Brawn?

The latest whispers about sponsorship in Formula 1 suggest that Exxon Mobil is going to switch its Mobil sponsorship from McLaren to Brawn in 2010, as part of the Mercedes-Benz-ifaction of the World Championship winning team. Mobil has been with McLaren for nearly 15 years but prior to that was involved with Williams for a long period in the 1980s. They then moved on to Benetton until the end of 1992 and after a brief spell with Team Lotus joined McLaren. The deal is one that involves first-fill rights for Mobil in Mercedes-Benz products, which was one of the earliest B2B deals in F1. This means that Mobil pays more money to McLaren than the signage suggests and the company now wants a bigger slice of exposure for its money, which it seems Mercedes-Benz is willing to offer with Brawn. This is important as the oil companies of the world are beginning to be squeezed because of the low price of oil at the moment. Last year oil was trading at $147 a barrel but today it is down to $79. Exxon has just reported a 68% decline in earnings for the third quarter in comparison to last year's figures. This is not quite the disaster it sounds as Mobil has announced that its year-to-date earnings are $13.3bn. Nonetheless the oilmen want better value for money.