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BMW Sauber wins Intel sponsorship

Car group to use Intel-based kit, too

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Intel is to sponsor the BMW Sauber Formula One racing team, the chip giant announced today, characterising the arrangement as a "multi-year agreement and long-term technology partnership".

The deal's financial details were not made public, but it goes beyond cash and the slapping of an Intel logo - one of the new ones, presumably - on the side of BMW Sauber's racing cars. No, sir - Intel will also "support" BMW in "standardising the IT infrastructure in the worldwide BMW Group", specifically its data centres and the technology it provides to its 3,000-strong network of dealerships around the world. BMW will equip its staff with Centrino notebooks and "significantly increase the use of Intel-based PDAs within the company".

"Intel will infuse the BMW Sauber F1 Team with its technology - technology that we believe will support the team's performance," said Eric Kim, Intel's chief marketing officer.

The agreement even extends to the cars BMW hopes to sell to drivers: the two companies said they will work to develop an "industry specification" to enable the "seamless integration of third-party devices, including phones and portable music players, into BMW vehicles".

So it's not just bad news for AMD, it's potentially bad news for Apple, which has been evangelising the iPod and its proprietary docking connector as the ideal foundation for 21st Century in-car entertainment systems.

The BMW Sauber team will present the new team, their car and the sponsors' names appearing upon it in Valencia, Spain on 16 Janaury. BMW bought the Sauber team in June this year.

Last month, it was said both McLaren and BAR Honda were pitching Intel to win a share of its sponsorship dollars. ®

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