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Coca-Cola Could Replace Vodafone As Sponsor Of F1 McLaren Team UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh fired a blank on Wednesday when asked about rumors Coca-Cola could replace McLaren's title sponsor Vodafone.

With Vodafone reportedly reviewing its sponsorship of the famous British team, media sources have said the iconic drinks brand Coke is looking into entering the sport.

McLaren principal Whitmarsh was asked about the Vodafone and Coca-Cola speculation during a media teleconference on Wednesday.

"As you can imagine we don't talk about commercial discussions," he said.

"We have enjoyed a good and very successful partnership with Vodafone.  We will be with them for some time to come and we talk together about whether that would be lengthened beyond the existing length of the contract.

"There are also a whole range of other conversations with existing partners and new partners.  But I'm sure you can imagine that we are quite unlikely to disclose those discussions," added Whitmarsh.

07/15/12 First photo: Coca-Cola sponsored McLaren F1 car.

07/11/12 (GMM)  Sources continue to insist that Coca-Cola is interested in entering formula one as a sponsor.

The business journalist Christian Sylt suggested recently that Coke, arguably the most recognized brand name in the world, could replace McLaren's title sponsor Vodafone.

It had emerged that Vodafone is currently reviewing its major sponsorships.

Another F1 journalist, however, on Tuesday rubbished the "stupid" story on the basis that McLaren already has a drinks sponsor, Lucozade.

But two well-placed sources insist that the Coke rumors are real.

One of the sources said he can prove that Coca-Cola's global head of sports sponsorship has been obtaining detailed data on the beverage sponsorships sector in F1.

He said Coke has "more than a passing interest" in the sport.

The other source, meanwhile, said the Coke/McLaren link is so strong that a potential 2014 McLaren livery has been contemplated that harks back to McLaren's classic red and white of the 80s and 90s.

McLaren's current grey/silver livery dates back to 1997, but its engine partner Mercedes' rival works cars are now also colored similarly.

Moreover, the Woking based team will begin to pay for its Mercedes engines from 2013, as Force India does already.

"If McLaren goes ahead and switches its livery it would make sense to do it for a brand as big as Coke," said Sylt on Wednesday.

07/08/12 Coca-Cola could "become the new title sponsor" of the McLaren F1 team if current title sponsor Vodafone backs out of its sponsorship deal. The telecommunications company Vodafone "reportedly invests" £48M ($75M) annually to be the team's title sponsor. Vodafone, which signed an extension through '13 in '10, has been with the team since '07. The current economic situation has led to an internal evaluation of the company's F1 sponsorship deal. If Vodafone discontinues its sponsorship, Coca-Cola would be "an ideal replacement." Coca-Cola has sponsorship deals with the Olympic Games and with various UEFA tournaments. The Olympic Games alone cost the company an estimated €80M ($98M) every four years. MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com
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