Takeover could affect Williams sponsor

The takeover of Burmah Castrol, Williams F1's oil and lubricant supplier, by BP Amoco may have ramifications for the team if BP's stance on the environment leads Castrol to reconsider its position in motorsport

Takeover could affect Williams sponsor

Last year, Castrol signed a five year deal to sponsor the Williams BMW Formula 1 team. However, the BP deal may change this.

BP has invested considerable cash and resources into demonstrating its 'Green' credentials, by promoting renewable energy sources, and speaking in favourable terms about a proposed tax on carbon emissions.

This position may be seen to be compromised by Castrol's presence in motorsport.

In addition to the Williams deal, Castrol are title sponsors of Hyundai's World Rally Championship campaign, and until their withdrawal, fulfilled this role for Toyota.

In the last few years, F1 has tried to promote itself as an environmentally friendly sport. F1 cars run on unleaded pump fuel, and recent research suggested that the entire emissions from a Grand Prix weekend were no greater than that of a transatlantic trip by a Boeing 747.

However, environmental protesters made high-profile complaints about the conversion of Melbourne's Albert Park into an F1 circuit in 1996, and there have also been protests about the removal of trees at Brands Hatch in preparation for the 2004 British GP.

It is this image that BP are likely to want to avoid.

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