JANUARY 22, 2007
Oerlikon and Formula 1?
The word on the street in Austria is that Red Bull Racing will be sponsored this season by the engineering firm Oerlikon. The team says that it will have a major new technical partner and the indications are that this could be Oerlikon.
Established in Zurich in 1906 as a machine tool company, Oerlikon is best known as the company that in 1914 created an anti-aircraft cannon which was so successful that it was used in both World Wars by both sides. Some of the derivatives of the original design are still used today. The company changed its name in 2000 to Unaxis. The company has since been sold to Austrian investors Victory Industriebeteiligungen AG, which means that the firm is now in Austrian hands and recently decided that the firm should return to its original name and it is in the process of undergoing a rebranding.
Oerlikon is leading developer in low-friction, low-wear treatments as this is important to increase power and allow components to support heavier loads, despite very tight tolerances. The company is the leading supplier of Balinit hard coatings to the racing industry.
There are therefore two good reasons why the company would want some more profile in F1.
It is worth noting that the firm is in the mood to spend as it has just become the sponsor of Niki Lauda's baseball cap.
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