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One of Formula 1’s most sought-after new sponsors this off-season, Intel ended up going BMW-Sauber’s way as the computer hardware company has been named the “Official Corporate Partner” of the Hinwil, Switzerland-based team - effectively, the squad’s main backer after the car maker.

At different times this season, Intel was linked to Toyota and most recently McLaren, which was in search of a new title backer, eventually announcing mobile company Vodafone yesterday. Intel was one of Toyota's associate sponsors this season.

As is typical these days in agreements involving such large companies, the BMW-Intel deal spans way beyond F1, being in fact a comprehensive partnership that will see Intel getting involved deeply within BMW’s IT structure.

"Formula 1 is a high-tech discipline - it demands the control and coordination of hundreds of parameters simultaneously and the precise execution of every step,” said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen. “Cutting-edge technology is a crucial success factor, and BMW has accepted the challenge. We are delighted that a strong partner such as Intel has done likewise in collaboration with us."

"This comprehensive agreement brings together two of the most admired and innovative brands in the world," added Intel chief marketing officer Eric Kim. "Intel's technology and BMW's prowess in the automotive sector are a powerful combination. Intel and BMW intend to collaborate heavily on the IT technology and marketing side as our brands are very synergistic.

“With Intel as Official Corporate Partner of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, the Intel brand will reach hundreds of millions of passionate fans worldwide each year -- fans who appreciate the critical role that technology plays in Formula 1. Intel will infuse the BMW Sauber F1 Team with its technology -- technology that we believe will support the team's performance."

BMW had previously announced Malaysian oil company Petronas as one of its 2006 backers. The new team will be officially unveiled in Valencia, Spain on January 16.
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