Diageo's Johnnie Walker becomes official whisky of Formula One

Johnnie Walker has signed a multi-year contract to become Formula One's first official whisky, in a deal which will focus largely on the brand's responsible drinking campaign.

The deal was confirmed in Singapore on Thursday, ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix in the city-state. Johnnie Walker, a Diageo brand, has been active in Formula One since 2005, through a sponsorship agreement with the McLaren team.

“Becoming the official whisky of Formula One will enable Johnnie Walker to greatly extend its reach to race fans," said Nick Blazquez, the president of Diageo in Africa and Asia.

"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 added: “We believe there is great potential in what we can achieve together. The Johnnie Walker Join the Pact campaign is a proven, powerful programme that is already driving positive change. More than one million people around the world have signed the Join the Pact pledge to ‘Never Drink and Drive’."

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who has featured in advertising at Grands Prix, complete with the slogan 'Bernie says think before you drive', for the past couple of years, said: “This is an exciting sponsorship for Formula One. I have admired the way that Johnnie Walker has entered into their sponsorship of Formula One 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.”

No financial details were immediately available.

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