Johnnie Walker signs up as 'Official Whisky' of Formula 1

Johnnie Walker has become the "Official Whisky" of Formula 1 in a "multi-year" deal that enhances the brand's existing association with the racing sport as a McLaren Mercedes sponsor.

Partnership: Nick Blazquez of Diageo and Bernie Ecclestone of Formula 1
Partnership: Nick Blazquez of Diageo and Bernie Ecclestone of Formula 1

The brand said the partnership ( the financial details of which were not divulged) would allow it to expand its Join the Pact responsible drinking platform.

The partnership was announced in Singapore last night (18 September) at an event at the Conrad Centennial Hotel, ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit.

The Walker family behind the brand has connections with Formula 1 that hark back to the 1950s, while in 2005, Johnnie Walker became a sponsor of the McLaren Mercedes team.

The latter has formed the crux of much of the brand’s marketing campaigns and responsible drinking programmes in various countries around the world.

Diageo said that more than one million people had signed up to Join the Pact, which is designed to discourage people from drink-driving.

As part of its lates Formula 1 deal, the brand is increasing its investment in the programme and aims to gain a further five million signatories in the next four years.

Nick Blazquez, president of Diageo in Africa and Asia, said: "Becoming the Official Whisky of Formula 1 will enable Johnnie Walker to greatly extend its reach to race fans.

"As a result of our new arrangement, we will have access to a global television audience of more than 450 million people and a track attendance audience of around 1.5 million every year."

Blazquez was joined at yesterday’s event by Mika Häkkinen, Diaego’s global responsible drinking ambassador, and the Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone said: "This is an exciting sponsorship for Formula 1. I have admired the way that Johnnie Walker has entered into their sponsorship of Formula 1 to not only achieve commercial benefits but to also highlight the importance of responsible drinking.

"It is a great example of how an alcohol brand can dedicate time and money to be a force for good."