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Mat Coch & Chris Balfe write:
Lotus has confirmed a new sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola, finally bringing one of the most coveted companies in to Formula One.
The announcement comes after months of speculation, Pitpass first eluding to the link back in July, while the company itself confirmed its interest in the sport only last week.
The American company will enter the sport under the banner of its Burn energy drink, pitting it in direct competition with rivals Red Bull, Monster (Mercedes), Lucozade (McLaren) and TNT (Ferrari).
"We are proud that the Coca-Cola Company has chosen the Lotus F1 Team as the best vehicle to represent the Burn brand in its most high profile partnership," said Lotus boss Eric Boullier.
"We are excited to partner with Burn to build a new and innovative model for sponsorships that will combine experiences, content creation and social media."
Formula One has long courted the Coca-Cola company, and has come close to securing its participation at least once before. In 2005 it was hoped Red Bull's purchase of the Jaguar team would encourage the company in to Formula One - it came close, very, very, very close, but that's another story.
Confirming the deal Emmanuel Seuge, Group Director, Worldwide Sports & Entertainment Marketing, The Coca-Cola Company , said: "The creativity of teams and the passion for speed and energy that fuel the sport of Formula 1, make a partnership with this iconic sporting property a compelling proposition for the burn brand. Lotus F1 Team, as the number one emerging challenger in the sport, has demonstrated exceptional creativity in their approach to Formula 1 racing and their collaborations with partners - an approach that mirrors the philosophy of burn. We will bring that same creativity through burn, incorporating art and music in a way that will break the conventions of traditional Formula 1 sponsorship marketing."
The signing also appears to rubbish suggestions in the German press that Lotus staff, including Kimi Raikkonen, have not been paid. Auto Motor und Sport claiming staff had not received their salary, suggesting the team was waiting for prize money from Bernie Ecclestone before paying its 493 employees.
However the team has denied the reports, confirming to Pitpass that "staff have definitely been paid, and Kimi's management wouldn't have agreed to the recent announcement if there was any doubt."
Lotus lies fourth in the Constructors' Championship, a position it can't lose regardless of what happens at this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix. It's a one place improvement on the team's 2011 season, when known as Renault.
The spot gained this year, at Mercedes expense, translates into millions of dollars' worth of bonuses from Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management. With today's announcement Lotus appears to find itself in a comfortable position heading into the 2013 season.
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