New Delhi: The country`s largest telecom
operator Bharti airtel today joined hands with the Formula One
(F1) Group Companies to become title sponsor of the Indian
leg of the race series, scheduled on October 30.
The race in India, which will be the 17th in the
Formula One World Championship, will be called the `Airtel
Grand Prix of India`, following the telecom major`s tie-up
with the Formula One Group Companies.
Bharti airtel CEO - India and South Asia Sanjay Kapoor
and Formula One Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone together unveiled
the official logo of the Airtel Grand Prix of India.
Kapoor said there was a lot of merit in being associated
with the world`s most popular motorsport event.
"Formula One as a sport and airtel as a brand both share
same synergies. Both resonate well with global and
contemporary audience. The Airtel Grand Prix of India will be
the first step for India in the world of international
motorsport racing," Kapoor told reporters here.
He, however, did not disclose the tenure of contract and
also the value of the title sponsorship deal.
"Such events do not come cheap. We see value in this in
investment," Kapoor said.
Talking about the timeline for the title sponsorship,
Ecclestone said, "Forever, until we stop."
Kapoor said airtel`s association with F1 is in tune with
the growing sports market in India and the need to connect
with younger customers.
"The sports market in India is close to USD 40 billion
and this market is growing at around 14 per cent per annum,"
As part of its association with F1, brand airtel will
offer Formula One enthusiasts a host of innovative offerings
and initiatives, which will be rolled out and announced in
weeks to come, Kapoor added.
"There are host of things in coming weeks... You will see
a lot of things coming for out stakeholders, customers and
employees," he said, without disclosing details.
The Indian race will be held at the Buddh International
Circuit in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), putting India on the
global F1 map for the first time.
Kapoor said with the F1 race coming to India it will also
bring a lot of economic opportunities to the country.
"Ten years of the Grand Prix in Australia brought the
country over USD 1 billion in gross amount and about 28,000
jobs. In Canada, the Grand Prix brings them USD 100 million
every year. Today, Britain realises more revenues from the
motor sports industry than steel or construction combined," he
F1 has more than over 500 million fans across the world
and is spread over 185 countries across the world. Vijay
Mallaya-owned Force India is among the teams that are
competing in the world championships along with biggies like
Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Petronas Mercedes, among
Airtel has operations in 19 countries across Asia and
Africa, with over 228 million customers at the end of June,