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HP/Compaq: Formula 1 sponsorship fall-out

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IT hacks looking for a free trip to next year's British Grand Prix are unlikely to be happy with today's announcement that Compaq and Hewlett-Packard are to merge.

If the deal goes ahead, two of Formula 1's biggest sponsors from the IT sector will be reduced to a single sponsor, cutting in half the opportunities junket-hungry journos have for blagging paddock passes at the UK's premier motor-racing event.

HP sponsors Jaguar and Jordan. Compaq, on the other hand, gives money to Williams to have its name appear on the team's cars. The other major IT F1 sponsor is Sun, which no doubts pays handsomely to get its logo on McLaren wing-mirrors.

HP seems likely to win in the long run, since its kit is used by almost all the F1 teams, including Ferrari, whose lead driver, Michael 'The Hun who is no Fun' Schumaker, has already won this year's driver championship.

The use of HP workstations is independent of sponsorship and seems genuinely based on teams' assessment of the technology. At this year's British Grand Prix, for example, our racing correspondent saw an HP machine handsomely beat a Sun box over at the McLaren team HQ. Sun, as we noted before, sponsors McLaren. ®

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