Jean-Claude Biver is reported to have confirmed that TAG Heuer will end its 30-year association with the McLaren Formula 1 team in favour of a new deal with Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season.
Biver, president of the LVMH watch division and chief executive officer of TAG Heuer, is quoted in an interview with Swiss news magazine L’Hebdo as saying [in translated English]: “Yes, we have just signed Red Bull Racing in F1 for next season. It is a young, dynamic, go-getter, perfectly in keeping with the strategy of TAG Heuer.”
This would bring to an end a 30-year sponsorship arrangement between the watch brand and the veteran British Formula 1 team that was only this year celebrated by the release of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 McLaren Special Edition chronograph.
Biver goes on to say that football, IndyCar and basketball are important to TAG Heuer and that huge announcements will be made in the coming months.
The interview also discusses the recent launch of the TAG Heuer Connected smart watch developed in conjunction with Google and Intel.
Biver believes that the product should easily be able to steal one percent of Apple’s Apple Watch market share, which he states would equate to selling 50,000 to 80,000 Connected watches.
Elsewhere Biver explains that TAG Heuer has now rehired the staff it laid-off at Chevenez last year as a result of lower than expected market growth and that Hublot is enjoying industry-leading double digit.
Biver also states that he believes it will be another ‘year or two’ before he can hand over the role of TAG Heuer chief executive officer to someone else, but admits he will put more focus on Zenith in 2016. The 66-year-old industry legend goes on to say that he sees himself overseeing LVMH’s three main watch brands for another ten years.
UPDATE: TAG Heuer has since confirmed the news to WatchPro.