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HP ends Williams partnership

Sponsorship of F1 racing team over

Less than a week after HP announced plans to lay off 5,900 workers in Europe, the company has decided to end its sponsorship of the BMW Williams Formula One car racing team.

HP's announcement comes with just three races left on the 2005 racing calendar: Brazil, Japan and Shanghai.

HP has been a sponsor of the BMW Williams team since 2000. During that time, the team scored 42 podium finishes, including 10 Grand Prix wins, HP said. In addition, BMW Williams finished second in the Constructors Championship in 2002 and 2003, HP said.

The company did not disclose the amount it has spent on its sponsorship of the BMW Williams team, but sponsorship costs for the sport typically run into the millions pounds annually.

At present, BMW Williams is in a disappointing fifth place for the Constructors Championship and its two drivers, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld, are in tenth and eleventh place, respectively.

Formula One is among the world's most popular televised sports. In 2005, each Grand Prix race has garnered an audience of 160 million people in 200 countries, HP said.


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