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Porsche's big Mobil deal

MOBIL, McLaren's fuel and oil supplier in F1, has just announced a major new partnership with Porsche, a strange alliance given Mobil's role as a "technology partner" with the Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team. Porsche and Mercedes are major rivals.

The deal is a good example of the kind of networking arrangements which major companies are now exploring and includes joint efforts in research and development and global advertising and marketing. In addition Mobil will sponsor Porsche's return to the Le Mans 24 Hours with a pair of GT1 sportcars in June. The Porsches major rivals at Le Mans will be the McLaren F1 sportscars...

As part of the agreement, all 17,000 new Porsches leaving the company's Zuffenhausen plant every year will be lubricated with Mobil 1 oil and Porsche will exclusively recommend this to its dealer network.

The deal must ultimately have serious implications for Mobil's alliances which involve Mercedes-Benz - in both F1 and Indycar racing. Porsche is unlikely to have entered into a long-term involvement if its research and development input will be used to help make Mercedes-Benz cars more successful.

The lack of success for McLaren - and Penske's failure at Indianapolis - in 1995 will not have helped the cause.

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