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Coca Cola enters F1 with burn brand and Lotus

A Coca-Cola logo on a truck at a distribution center in Alexandria, Virginia October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A Coca-Cola logo on a truck at a distribution center in Alexandria, Virginia October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Coca Cola will enter Formula One with its burn energy drink brand after announcing a deal with Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus team on Thursday.

Lotus said in a statement that the deal was a multi-year agreement with more details to be revealed next year when the partnership begins.

"The creativity of teams and the passion for speed and energy that fuel the sport of Formula One make a partnership with this iconic sporting property a compelling proposition for the burn brand," said Emmanuel Seuge, Coca Cola's group director of worldwide Sports and entertainment marketing.

Seuge said the deal would mix art and music "in a way that will break the conventions of traditional Formula One sponsorship marketing".

Formula One has just returned to the United States for the first time in five years at a new circuit in Austin and the sport is eager to build up its presence in the Americas.

There are due to be two races in the United States in 2014, with a grand prix in New Jersey, and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone spoke at the weekend of the possibility of three by 2015.

Red Bull Racing, the team owned by the Austrian energy drink manufacturer, have won the Formula One constructors' championship for the past three years.

Their German driver Sebastian Vettel is chasing his third title in a row in Brazil this weekend.

Finland's Raikkonen, who won the 2007 world championship with Ferrari, triumphed in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Lotus this month and is one of Formula One's most popular drivers, with the nickname 'Iceman'.

Coca Cola have been linked with various teams in the past, as well as with the sport as a whole.

"We are excited to partner with burn to build a new and innovative model for sponsorships that will combine experiences, content creation and social media," said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier.

The Frenchman highlighted social media as an area in which the team had been "at the cutting edge in Formula One for the past 18 months, recording the highest growth rate amongst fans this year".

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Clare Fallon)

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