Mobile phone company Vodafone announced today that it will take on a long-term role of title sponsor for the McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 team beginning in 2007, ending its sponsorship of the rival Ferrari team. The team will be known as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

Peter Bamford, Vodafone's Chief Marketing Officer (left, above, with McLaren-Mercedes' Ron Dennis), said "The new agreement delivers a fantastic marketing platform [for Vodafone]," referring in part to the company's plan to use its 3G network to deliver exclusive F1 content to its subscribers.

As McLaren-Mercedes title sponsor, Vodafone will replace the West tobacco brand. The move is a step up for Vodafone's involvement with Formula 1, where it has been a second-tier sponsor of Ferrari.

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