Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43
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The convoluted tier system that reveals an F1 strength

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They may be given various, nuanced descriptions of their support, but as MARK GALLAGHER explains, F1 is currently awash with companies willing to put money, know-how or supplies into its 10 teams

It was McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Ekrem Sami who decided, back in the 1980s, that sponsors were no longer sponsors. Instead, they were partners. Commercial partners, technical partners or, at the bottom of the ladder, official suppliers.

Being a sponsor suggested something altogether different. A charitable donation or a cash contribution towards a worthy cause, such as winning the world championship.

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