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Ron Gourlay believes his club’s deal with the Sauber Formular 1 team will be the start of a partnership between football and Formula One

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Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay believes that the Blues deal with the Sauber Formula One team will start a trend of football clubs going into partnerships with other F1 teams.

The west Londoners announced the deal at the end of April, which will see club branding appear on the Sauber car around the world from Silverstone to Montreal to Singapore to Brazil.

“I think they will follow, but the key is the lead here and it is ground breaking for us,” he during the first day of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“There will be a huge amount of global interest around how this will evolve and we are engaged with that

“This is about bringing two of the biggest sports in the world from an awareness point of view together, and using both of our experience to drive both our businesses forward. I think you will see over the next few months that there has been a lot of thought that has gone into this and it is not just financial, it is about giving back as well.”

Gourlay insists that the deal with Sauber has more to it than having a Chelsea sticker on the car and selling more shirts.

“It’s not about just finance,” he added. It is about engagement, because at the end of the day the whole commercial world has changed. It is about engagement of that fan base.

“There is no point having 250-300 million supporters around the world if we can’t engage with that. So from my point of view we are just happy to have involvement with Peter Sauber, who carries so much weight within the sport.

“We have never and would never consider going into this with anyone but Sauber.”

Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was third in first practice with team-mate Sergio Perez in 15th.

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