McLaren gets Schweppes backing

THE McLaren Formula 1 team has concluded a major new sponsorship deal with Cadbury Schweppes PLC, the London-based confectionery and drinks company. The deal will see the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen carrying Schweppes branding.

Cadbury Schweppes is a giant company with annual sales of over $5bn. It is the world's third largest soft drink company behind Coca-Cola and PepsiCo - and markets such well-known brands as Canada Dry and Dr. Pepper. It also controls 20% of Camelot, the company which organizes the hugely successful National Lottery in Britain.

Cadbury Schweppes has not been involved in Grand Prix racing before but came close to signing a sponsorship deal with Tyrrell some years ago. The agreement, which would have seen the Tyrrell cars running in Cadbury's famous purple color scheme fell apart during the negotiation of the details.

The signing up of Cadbury Schweppes is an indication that the growth of Grand Prix racing is now making it attractive to global consumer companies other than tobacco firms - which is good news given the increasing restrictions being placed on the tobacco industry.

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