Between the seventies and eighties, Calisto Tanzi, owner of the Parmalat brand, decided to expand the popularity of his company by investing heavily in advertising terms and among the initiatives implemented there was the sponsorship in the world of sport. After sponsoring ski competitions, Tanzi turned his interest to Formula 1 taking advantage of the revival of the Ferrari, 1975 world champion with Niki Lauda, by putting his own logo on the suits of the two riders (the other was Clay Regazzoni) of the Prancing Horse for 1976. The tragic accident of the Nurburgring which the Austrian champion was a victim of strengthened his bond with the Italian company: “I also profited from my baldness, collecting money from Parmalat on condition that I constantly wear an advertising cap. Even after my retirement, the cap has maintained the same value for them “, Lauda remembered.
And the passage of the iconic Viennese driver from Ferrari to Brabham had like director of the operation the Parma-based company, as Pino Allievi recently recalled: “Ferrari had especially bothered by the fact that Calisto Tanzi’s Parmalat, an Emilian industrialist like him, same land, same moods, had financed the operation. A betrayal “. The milk brand was the main sponsor of the team headed by Bernie Ecclestone from 1978 to 1984, painting the racing cars white and blue and winning world titles with Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. Niki Lauda in the meantime retired and later returned. in Formula 1 at the wheel of McLaren, always with the Parmalat brand highlighted on his personal cap and won his third world championship in 1984. With the definitive farewell of the Austrian champion a year later, Parmalat also left the Circus, while maintaining the sponsorship with the former driver until 2002. A commercial agreement with the Diniz family brought the company back to F1 between 1995 and 1999, following the career of Pedro Paolo between Forti, Ligier, Arrows and Sauber, but the golden period of the company was now coming to an end, with the ‘crash’ that arrived in 2003.
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