Dubai: Emirates airline and the Formula One have signed up a multi-million dollar five-year agreement which sees Emirates being appointed as Global Partner of Formula 1 starting with the 2013 season.
The announcement was made by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group at the Emirates Headquarters on Tuesday.
As per the agreement that spans five seasons, Emirates will have a strong branding presence at 15 races on the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar across all five continents. The four races exempt from this partnership are in Melbourne, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Monaco because of pre-existing title sponsorship commitments.
Starting with the second race of the calendar in Malaysian Grand Prix on March 22-24, the Emirates branding will be seen at all F1 venues including the historic circuits at Silverstone (UK), Monza (Italy) and Interlagos (Sao Paolo, Brazil).
"Emirates has a truly big step with this announcement and we will now have an even better presence across all the continents," said Shaikh Ahmad.
"My message to Formula fans is ‘Fasten your seat belts so that we can all share in the passion of Formula One’," he added.
Emirates has been at the forefront of sports partnerships across the world and with this sponsorship, its portfolio touches the Dhs one billion mark including its recent announcements of renewing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Arsenal FC, a sponsorship partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and becoming the Official Airline of the ATP World Tour tournament.
"This new partnership will truly become one of our main associations with a truly global reach. Emirates has embarked on a new platform to connect people and I cannot wait for the new Formula One season to start," Shaikh Ahmad said.
Ecclestone, who will turn 83 in October, was pleased with what the association between Emirates and Formula One will bring to the table. "Emirates has a first-class international reputation and I’m very pleased to welcome such a prestigious company as a global partner of Formula One," he said.
Both, Shaikh Ahmad and Ecclestone refrained from putting a figure on the worth or value of the five-year agreement. "It’s millions of dollars," Shaikh Ahmad admitted.
"Yes, it’s above ten million dollars," he smiled.
"Gentlemen never speak about last night and money," Ecclestone chipped in coyly.
"And I am not saying I am a gentleman," he added quickly.
Ecclestone, though, was convinced that the agreement will prove to be mutually beneficial for both. "At Formula One we like to be associated with top corporates from across the world. And I am convinced that the Formula teams will benefit for sure. They will be more than happy with Emirates as our partner," he added.
Shaikh Ahmad too hoped this agreement would be beneficial for the airline, its customers and Formula One. "There are hundreds and thousands of events taking place all over the world and we can’t possibly be associated with all. As a brand, Emirates associates only with top brands and anywhere we see a direct benefit to our customers and brand value," he added.