Starting in January 2007 the deal will last into the next decade and must signal the end of Vodafone’s sponsorship of Ferrari.

The deal includes a number of benefits:

The team name will be ‘Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’

Vodafone will be the ‘Official Mobile Partner’ of the team

Dominant title sponsorship branding on the new 2007 cars, drivers’ and pit crews’ overalls and helmets and other elements

Marketing activation opportunities including hospitality, merchandising, and promotional rights including access to drivers and track days.

Behind the scenes access to the team, enabling Vodafone to bring exclusive content to Vodafone live! with 3G customers

Additional content will include racing news updates for the team, test results and full team biographies, the McLaren story, exclusive Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team games, videos, ringtones, wallpapers and screensavers.

Peter Bamford, Vodafone’s chief marketing officer, said: “We are excited about this new phase of involvement in motor racing. As title sponsor of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team it raises our association with Formula One to the ultimate level.

“The new agreement delivers a fantastic marketing platform; the associative rights we acquire as a result of this new sponsorship provide us with additional opportunities to continue to raise brand awareness, build brand preference and drive revenue.”

Said Ron Dennis, chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group and McLaren Mercedes Team Principal: “The status of the brand and the level of activation in support of the sponsorship were key criteria for our choice of title sponsor and Vodafone over-delivers in all respects.

“In addition, as our agreement is long-term, this provides important stability within the Team, allowing us to focus fully on our objective of winning races and Championships together.”