Toyota pays £25m for sponsorship of ITV Formula 1 racing

LONDON - Toyota is to sponsor ITV1's Formula 1 racing coverage in a four-year deal believed to be worth over £25m, as ITV looks to improve its F1 programming in the face of increasing competition.

The package includes sponsorship of the qualifying rounds, race and highlights programmes for the 17 races scheduled this season.



Toyota takes over from Texaco, which has sponsored the programme since it was first screened in 1997.



The Japanese car giant has also taken over sponsorship of the programme's sister website, previously held by Fosters.



As well as sponsorship of TV coverage and the website, the deal will see the carmaker develop competitions to raise the profile of Toyota within the sport. It coincides with the car-maker's first season as an F1 team.



Toyota marketing director Paul Philpott said: "We are all very excited about the F1 opportunity. It is the perfect link between UK drivers and what we're doing with Team Toyota on the track."



ITV is set to overhaul its F1 coverage as part of the deal with Toyota. The car company will work closely with Granada Broadcasting to design a new credits sequence for the show.



Mick Desmond, managing director of Granada Broadcasting, said: "Formula 1 is a linchpin of our male programming, in particular the upmarket audience. This represents an excellent brand-building opportunity."



ITV's F1 coverage faces competition from a BSkyB premium digital TV channel, which is being launched in collaboration with F1 racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone.



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