Williams marks British GP with multi-million pound sponsorship

Christian Sylt
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THE WILLIAMS Formula One team have been given a boost ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix as they will today announce a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with telecoms firm ShoreTel.

The Oxfordshire team, celebrating their 600th Grand Prix on Sunday, have lacked a telecoms partner since a deal with Brazilian company Embratel ended last year, but ShoreTel has emerged as a long-term replacement.

The company, which is based in California and listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, will also handle telecoms for Williams at each of the 19 F1 races, giving it an opportunity to make a positive impact on performance. The team have scored no points from seven races so far this season.

Telecoms firms are common partners for F1 teams, with Vodafone sponsoring McLaren and Blackberry backing Mercedes, as outfits rely on fast and reliable communications systems.

The deal is understood to have been struck directly between team principal Sir Frank Williams and ShoreTel’s chief executive Peter Blackmore, who was at computer maker Compaq when it sponsored Williams between 2000 and 2005.

ShoreTel specialises in business-to-business unified communications, such as video conferencing and internet telephone calls. It is understood the company is to upgrade the Williams factory and track-side phone systems with its technology.