British Airways is in discussions with Formula One team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes about becoming an official partner. The F1 team, which is based in Woking, UK, previously had airline Emirates as a global partner in 2006.
Negotiations are being led by British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh. The partnership, if it comes through, will take concrete shape only at the start of 2010.
McLaren currently has to ship its equipment and staff to 18 Grand Prix races each year in locations such as Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Brazil. With Emirates, the deal was that the Middle Eastern airline's logo appeared on both the front and rear wings of the cars.
A tie-up with BA would be attractive to the F1 team, which has world champion Lewis Hamilton as its main driver, because it would enable it to reduce overheads. The McLaren team's current sponsors include Vodafone, Hilton, Johnnie Walker and Santander.
Last month, BA, which is also a sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games, reported losses of more than £400m; total passenger numbers were down 4.3 per cent year on year.