Future bleak for Arrows F1 team as Orange mulls sponsorship deal

LONDON - Debt-ridden mobile phone company Orange is likely to end its £15m-a-year sponsorship of Formula 1 motor racing strugglers Arrows, when its three-year contract terminates at the end of this season.

France Telecom, the parent company of Orange, is reeling under debts of £40bn, according to the Daily Mail, and will not renew its contract.

The Orange Arrows team barely made the starting grid at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, when engine manufacturers Cosworth refused to supply engines unless the team paid its debts. Arrows' owner Tom Walkinshaw paid £3.2m out of his own pocket at the last moment to secure engines for the race.

However, Walkinshaw is confident Arrows will survive and is close to finding new owners. Possible buyers include former British American Racing F1 team owner Craig Pollock and Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz, boss of drinks company Red Bull, which is currently a sponsor of Arrows.

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