Force India confirms Smirnoff partnership

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Sahara Force India has a new partner in the form of Smiroff premium vodka. The branding will be seen on the sidepods, rear wing and top of Vijay Mallya’s VJM07 chassis starting at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, with a new livery featuring a more prominent percentage of black that premiered last race in China.

As an official partner, Smirnoff plans to use the partnership to deliver a powerful anti-drink and drive message.

“It’s fantastic to see Smirnoff join the world of Formula One,” Mallya said in a team release. “It’s an iconic, global brand and we welcome them to the Sahara Force India family.

“As a team we’ve always mixed the highest professionalism on the track with great celebrations away from it and our partnership with Smirnoff reinforces those values. As we continue to make progress on the track, Smirnoff is the ideal brand to help celebrate these moments and open up the sport to new fans.”

Added Matt Bruhn, Smirnoff Global Brand Director, “We love Sahara Force India’s story, as well as its ability to help us communicate about responsibility and top quality performance. This team is shaking up how we perceive racing and giving the establishment a real run for its money.”

No terms or length was revealed in the team release, but it is expected to be a multi-year deal.

Sergio Perez delivered the team its first podium in five years at Bahrain, and Nico Hulkenberg has finished fifth or sixth in each of the four Grands Prix thus far. The team currently ranks third in the Constructor’s Championship with 54 points, only three behind Red Bull in second.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)