Jul.20 (GMM) While the Australian media hailed compatriot Mark Webber's breakthrough win last week, the 32-year-old did so without taking any local companies along for the ride.
The Red Bull driver's manager and partner Ann Neal told The Australian newspaper that while Webber had some Australian sponsors in the past, none of them wanted to stay with him in formula one."In regards to locally based companies supporting Mark, we haven't had any of those for a number of years now, and more's the pity," she said, adding that Australia's lack of corporate interest has been a "great frustration".The sport is difficult for sports fans to follow in Australia, with most races taking place in the dead of night and until this year not even shown live on television.While Webber is now a household name in the country, companies eyeing corporate tie-ups with the Australian driver "put it in the too-hard basket", Neal added.Australia's last grand prix winner, 1980 world champion Alan Jones, said: "(Australian) companies are incredibly naive when it comes to this sport."There are lots of examples in the past of (domestic) sponsors getting behind drivers. For example, in Brazil, local sponsors have gotten behind drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello and have gotten a lot out of it," he added.