SAUBER AND CHELSEA JOIN FORCES
The Chelsea first team squad today helped launch our new partnership with the Sauber F1 team at our Cobham training ground, before chief executive Ron Gourlay joined the Formula 1 team's drivers in Barcelona.
The players, manager Roberto Di Matteo and his staff and Gourlay were all pictured with the C31 car before training, with Gourlay flying to Barcelona this afternoon ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix to meet Sauber drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi and presenting them with personalised Chelsea shirts.
Back in England, there was of course plenty of interest from the players, with Salomon Kalou and Juan Mata taking the chance to be seated inside the car.
Speaking to Chelsea TV, Gourlay said: 'We've finalised our unique partnership with the Sauber team bringing Formula 1 and football together. It's an opportunity not just around commercial activity but also around sports science and performance, and it's interesting to see how they prepare their drivers and we look forward to working together.
'I am heading to Barcelona now to make the official launch with the two Sauber drivers, and the car will race with our crest on it for the first time this weekend and again in Monaco and will continue to carry our brand for the rest of the season.'
After today's training session, Mata admitted he is also a fan of racing and is looking forward to the link.
'I like Formula 1, I know Fernando Alonso the driver and it's a great sport. I used to go to the tracks at Barcelona and Valencia and he is a very good guy, and a very good driver, so it will be good to see how the partnership with Sauber goes,' he said.
'It's pretty cool to see the Chelsea badge on an F1 car, it's something new and it should be good for both teams,' Michael Essien added.
'I love F1, it's a very interesting sport but I love the sound of the cars most of all! Every time I'm free, I try to go and watch it. It's not the first time I've seen an F1 car up close, but they always impress me.'