Andrew Murray-Watson in the Sunday Telegraph wrote yesterday that McLaren’s remoured USD$50m deal with Intel has been thrown into jeapordy by the FIA’s recently announced ‘strategic partnership’ with Intel rival AMD (article). A similar, smaller deal between Toyota and Intel may also now be off the table.
McLaren and Toyota, as non-tobacco teams, may already be frustrated that the FIA’s refusal to outlaw tobacco sponsorship from Formula One, despite anti-tobacco regulation from the European Union coming into force last July, is deterring significant potential sponsors who do not want to be tarnished by association with ‘dirty’ tobacco money. Ferrari recently re-signed an agreement with Philip Morris tobacco to continue their Marlboro branding until 2011.
Moreover, McLaren boss Ron Dennis’ dislike of FIA President Max Mosley, and Mosley’s contempt for Dennis, is well-known. This latest conflict may further divide the sport’s President and one of its most successful team managers.