McLaren signs contract extension with Johnnie Walker

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McLaren has signed a contract extension with scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker ahead of start of the 2016 Formula 1 season in Australia next weekend.

Johnnie Walker’s parent company Diageo had been rumored to be ending its 10-year sponsorship of McLaren for 2016, having been linked to Force India in the event of a takeover of the team by Aston Martin.

However, in a statement issued by McLaren on Friday, it was confirmed that the sponsorship agreement with Johnnie Walker had been extended.

“Johnnie Walker’s renewed agreement with McLaren-Honda underlines our belief in, and commitment to, the strength and durability of long-standing commercial partnerships,” McLaren CEO Ron Dennis said.

“The Johnnie Walker brand is synonymous with quality, and, like ourselves, they’re not only incredibly proud of their heritage, but keen to push the limit in a hugely dynamic and constantly shifting marketplace. At McLaren-Honda, we absolutely share that ambition.

“The partnership has developed a long and dynamic list of creative initiatives, not least the admirable ‘Join The Pact’ responsible drinking campaign. Our renewed partnership will not only extend that socially responsible message, but also see the launch of a series of new and exciting concepts and ideas.

“Last but very far from least, this partnership renewal eloquently and irrefutably underlines the robust and exciting direction in which McLaren-Honda is going, with victory on track the destination.”

The contract extension will come as welcome news for McLaren at a time when it has little branding on its car following a number of sponsor exits over the past few years.