FARNBOROUGH: Russian Helicopters makes British Grand Prix debut

Farnborough
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Russian Helicopters made its British Grand Prix debut this weekend as one of the newest sponsors of the Caterham F1 team - whose main shareholder is Tony Fernandes's fast-growing AirAsia group. The Mil and Kamov rotorcraft group is a major player in Asia, so the marketing link with Fernandes's regional ambitions is strong. But as Caterham chief executive Riad Asmat puts it, his partner relationships are "not just a badge on the car". Caterham's composite materials engineering business is developing a lightweight seat and other weight- and fuel-saving innovations for AirAsia. But, he notes intriguingly, while F1 production is in single units, Russian Helicopters' composites expertise is in volume production.