Mumbai: The Vijay Mallya-owned private-sector airline Kingfisher Airlines has signed a multi-year partnership with Toyota Motorsport GmbH to be an official partner of the Toyota F1 Racing team. With the signing of this deal, Kingfisher Airlines enters the high-profile Formula 1 circuit and will be designated as official partner for the Toyota Racing Team of the Köln-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
Rated as one of corporate India''s biggest overseas brand partnerships, the deal will initially be for a period of two years commencing with the 2007 racing season.
The deal also marks the largest sports partnership programme so far for the 21-month-old Kingfisher Airlines. This partnership also marks the first time ever that an airline-based out of India has partnered on this scale with anyone in the F1 circuit worldwide.
The deal was inked just ahead of the official unveiling of Toyota''s long-awaited 2007 challenger, the TF 107 at Cologne''s ''Expo XXI'' exhibition grounds, in the team''s home town. Drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli were both present at the unveiling of the car. Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman and CEO, Kingfisher Airlines Limited and Toyota Motorsport President John Howett made the announcement.
Starting from the next Grand Prix, the distinctive "Fly Kingfisher'' insignia-one of the most recognizable brands in India and the world, will feature prominently on the TF107 Formula 1 racing cars at events across the globe. The ''Fly Kingfisher'' insignia will also appear on the drivers'' helmets and overalls, as well as all corporate branding platforms.
Kingfisher Airlines, which commenced operations on 9 May, 2005, offers 146 flights daily connecting 24 key Indian business and leisure destinations on a fleet of 24 brand new aircraft.
The partnership between Kingfisher Airlines and Toyota Racing team will aim to raise the profile of the team and Formula 1 in India while showcasing the Kingfisher Airlines brand to the world.
John Howett, president, Toyota Motorsport, said, "This partnership is exciting news, not just for Panasonic Toyota Racing but for Formula 1 in general. We hope this partnership will strengthen Formula 1''s position in India and bring Panasonic Toyota Racing to the people of India. We are grateful for the support of an ambitious and successful brand like Kingfisher Airlines and we will help them as they expand into an international operation."
Sharing the vision behind partnering with a global sports event of this scale, Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman and CEO, Kingfisher Airlines Limited commented, "Of all the available sponsorship opportunities and platforms, Formula 1 is the most premium and the most visible one. This association will naturally enhance the image of Kingfisher Airlines and catapult it to a league of select and renowned international brands that typically support Formula 1 initiatives. The shared values of Kingfisher Airlines and Formula 1 racing - a dedication to innovation, delighting viewers and guests, and commitment to absolute excellence - are highly complementary."
Dr. Mallya added, "Given the ever-increasing volume of inbound international visitors into India, it makes eminent sense for Kingfisher Airlines to leverage a global sports platform like Formula 1 to augment visibility and appeal for all audiences worldwide. Besides, we intend to weave together a series of compelling consumer engagement initiatives that will reward our guests flying on board Kingfisher Airlines with free opportunities to watch Formula 1 races live amongst other exciting rewards."