McLaren reunites with iconic F1 sponsor Segafredo Zanetti

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McLaren has confirmed that iconic F1 sponsor Segafredo Zanetti has re-joined the team as a partner following a 20-year absence from the sport.

The coffee brand sponsored McLaren between 1984 and 1986, and was involved in Formula 1 until the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994.

It also sponsored Senna when he made his debut in 1984 with Toleman, and the 20th anniversary of his death in 2014 has played a part in the brand’s decision to return to the sport at this point in time.

It was confirmed today that Segafredo sponsorship will be returning to the sport. McLaren will run with its logos on the MP4-29 car and on the overalls of its drivers for the rest of the season.

“The Segafredo Zanetti name has long been associated with motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular, and our decision to return to grand prix racing with the renowned McLaren team signals our intention to further strengthen and grow the powerful Segafredo Zanetti brand,” group president Massimo Zanetti said in a statement.

“When you think of Formula 1, you doubtless think of McLaren; one of the teams that has achieved truly legendary status. Equally, in the coffee world, exactly the same is true of Segafredo Zanetti, and together, we can achieve something special.”

McLaren CEO Ron Dennis was pleased to welcome the brand back to Formula 1 after 20 years away.

“I’m personally delighted that Massimo Zanetti has chosen to return to Formula 1 with McLaren,” Dennis said. “He’s long supported both McLaren and Ayrton Senna, and his passion for motorsport courses through the Segafredo Zanetti brand.

“For Segafredo Zanetti to partner with McLaren in such a competitive international sponsorship market is a reflection of the strength of our brand, our proven track record of delivery for our partners, and the power of Formula 1 to reach an avid worldwide audience of consumers.

“I am delighted that two iconic global brands, both of which are synonymous with excellence, are coming together once more.”

Although this announcement is encouraging, there is still no sign of a title sponsor joining McLaren before the end of the season. It is likely that the team will now be putting its efforts into securing a new deal to herald the return of Honda as an engine partner at the beginning of the 2015 season.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).