An alternative to Formula 1

Automobile manufacturers like to spend money in Formula 1 in order to spread the word about their cars and prove their technology. The association, however, is as much to do with the perceived glamour of Grand Prix racing as it is to do with what the regulations say. It is interesting, therefore, to note that Volkswagen has decided to pursue the same goals by a rather different route and has signed a global marketing alliance with film company NBC Universal.

Universal will incorporate Volkswagen's products and brand, in its film, DVD, worldwide theme parks, and other entertainment properties while Volkswagen will support media and entertainment-related properties of NBC Universal through international marketing and promotional efforts. The aim is for a little Hollywood glamour to rub off on the German car manufacturer.

"This will represent one of the largest and most comprehensive alliances in the entertainment industry and prepares the ground for new ways of reaching consumers on a global scale," says Bernd Pischetsrieder, the head of Volkswagen.

The best way to avoid this sort of thing affecting the F1 business would be if the Formula One group was to create an alliance with a major Hollywood company - although it is hard to imagine that anything that imaginative will come out of the current structure with banks chasing money and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone fighting off rivals.

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