According to the latest reports, we may see the Lexus emblem on Formula One cars in the near future. Parent company Toyota, of course, is already in F1 with its own team, which won't be re-branding as Lexus. Nor would a Lexus team be established to compete with Toyota's, which, with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars, would be sheer lunacy. The possibility grows out of Toyota's client engine supplier deal with Williams.F1.
When BMW bought the Sauber team, Williams lost its engine partner and switched to Cosworth. But for the next season and beyond, Williams will be using Toyota power. Some of the suits in Tokyo see this as a ripe opportunity to promote Lexus, rather than double Toyota's brand presence on the grid. Considering that Lexus, once focused almost entirely on the American market, has recently been expanding globally, and that their products have been getting sportier (especially with the anticipated arrival of the LFA), such an arrangement could work out perfectly. However, Toyota F1 bosses John Howett and Tsutomu Tomita reportedly aren't sold on the idea, so don't expect to see Sir Frank being driven around in an LS460 just yet.
Whether the Williams-Lexus deal ends up taking shape or not, it lends to speculation over similar arrangements with other teams. Could Nissan's reported entry into F1 be a simple re-branding exercise on Renault's new deal with Red Bull? Could Scuderia Toro Rosso or Spyker be labeled with Fiat, Alfa Romeo or Maserati power? Whether they know it or not, Toyota may be blazing a trail for a new branding trend that would see more marques represented in F1 then ever before anticipated, all with minimal investment.