At a press launch on January 11 the Williams Grand Prix team announced that they had reached a two year sponsorship deal with Canadian brewery Labatt’s who join existing sponsors Canon, ICI, Denim, Barclay and Elf. The drivers will appear in Labatt’s blue overalls.
This move onto the international stage marks a welcome return for Labatt’s who will be particularly remembered by enthusiasts for their association with the late Gilles Villeneuve as well as their sponsorship of the Canadian Grand Prix for 10 years.
Labatt’s involvement with the touring car team of Laurence Bristow and Tim Harvey will continue into a second year. The theme of ‘Don’t Drink and Drive Be a better driver’, which won their agency CSS Promotions an industry commendation, will continue to be linked to all their motor racing activity.
It seems more than certain that Emanuele Pirro will join Andrea de Cesaris in the Scuderia Italia team driving a Dallara.
Osella have confirmed that their singleton entry this year will be driven by Olivier Grouillard. Backing will continue to come from Fondmetal and Pirelli are expected to give the team official support.
New Larrousse ESPO drivers Eric Bernard and Aguri Suzuki had a successful test session at Paul Ricard with the latest Chrysler Lamborghini V12s fitted to last year’s LC89s.
Although still in the hands of lawyers, it is expected that settlement may be reached soon with regard to the future of Motor Racing Development Ltd., the company which owns the Brabham name. Peter Windsor’s injunction is still in force which prevents any transaction over £100,000 being made without his approval, but the recent recruitment of ex-Onyx directors Mike Earle and Joe Chamberlain, together with Italian financier Romeo Casola into the team seems likely to pave the way for a settlement. At the moment Joachim Luethi, imprisoned in Switzerland, wishes to sell his shares
but is unable under the terms of Windsor’s injunction.
Before Christmas, MOTOR SPORT, with the help of BMW (UK) Ltd., was involved in a dash across Europe in aid of the Save the Children fund. Charity fund-raiser June Wilson had a mission to collect a bottle of wine from each of the European Community countries within 24 hours and bring them back home. The venture managed to raise nearly £2000 from sponsorship and the subsequent auction of the wine.
An Vatanen of Finland has won the ParisDakar rally in a Peugeot with Italy’s Edi Orioli winning the motorcycle category on a Cagiva. The success of the Paris-Dakar raid has raised the prospects of there being a World Championship for raids with one event per continent. The ParisDakar would represent the African event and a proposed Paris-Peking raid, with a route through the southern part of the Soviet Union, the Asian one. A ParisMoscow raid is under consideration for Europe as is one in South America, although the United States could not be ruled out. The Australian Safari was not mentioned but as this year’s event will be run under FISA’s raid regulations, it is the likely candidate.