F1 Sponsors “limiting their involvement” in Bahrain

Reuters reports on the “limited appetite” of F1 sponsors ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix:

Thomson Reuters, a partner of the Williams Formula One team, said it would not have any branding at the race in Bahrain. The company gave no further details.

Another two brands will be missing from the McLaren team at the Sakhir desert circuit in Bahrain, though both the companies involved say this is for operational reasons.

Diageo says its Johnnie Walker whisky brand will not be on display because of local cultural sensitivities about alcohol.

“In common with other Grands Prix in Muslim countries and elsewhere, for the Bahrain race we had always planned to respect local customs and laws and not to activate Johnnie Walker branding on the cars or drivers,” a Diageo spokeswoman said.

Vodafone, which also sponsors the McLaren team, said logos of its Middle East partner Zain would feature on the team’s cars and driver uniforms in Bahrain rather than its own brand.

This was a commercial decision rather than a political one, said Vodafone, which is ending its sponsorship of the team at the end of the season.