Ferrari Chief Luca di Montezemolo has hailed the growing relationship between his Italian Formula One team and the UAE.
Montezemolo was referring to the new three-year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways meaning the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s name will feature prominently on the world’s most famous red cars throughout the 18-race 2008 F1 season.
The chairman of the current world championship holders said: “We are pleased to enter into this new partnership that reinforces our links with the UAE. The collaboration with Etihad Airways is in addition to that with the Mubadala Development Company, which is already a sponsor and shareholder of the company,” he said.
Etihad Airways’ logo will have signature branding on the Ferrari cars and the drivers’ helmets, starting at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Etihad will also feature on the clothing of Ferrari’s two drivers, World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and his driving partner Felipe Massa, from the Malaysian Grand Prix at the end of March.
James Hogan, Etihad’s Chief Executive Officer, signed the deal with the Ferrari Grand Prix team ahead of the opening F1 race of the season in Melbourne in two days’ time.
“With a TV audience of 2.5 billion people in about 200 countries, the association with Ferrari will give Etihad enormous worldwide exposure and help bring Abu Dhabi to the world.
“Ferrari is already developing a close association with our Abu Dhabi home base, through an exciting new theme park being built in the city, so this deal represents a natural partnership for Etihad Airways.
“We share similar ambitions – to be the best in our respective fields,” Hogan added yesterday.
The iconic Ferrari racing brand is also set to open a $600 million (Dh2.2bn), 2,500 acre theme park sometime next year.
The highlights of “Ferrari World” will include a 70-metre tall G-Force Tower – the world’s first F1 branded twin roller coaster ride – a race track and a golf course.
Ferrari is already sponsored by Mubadala Development Company, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi that currently holds a five per cent stake in the racing giant.
Etihad airline’s involvement with the Ferrari F1 team is the latest high-profile sports sponsorship for the airline and will work alongside existing partnerships with Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
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