By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Triple world champion Jackie Stewart has ended one of the longest personal business relationships in Formula One by moving to Just Marketing International (JMI) after 45 years with IMG.
"I am joining JMI," the Scot, 74, told Reuters before attending the annual Autosport awards on Sunday night.
"I've been with IMG since 1968. Mark (McCormack) signed me up and they've done very well for me over the years but they are not in Formula One and haven't been in Formula One now for a good long time.
"The money that Jackie Stewart can deliver is in Formula One or associated with Formula One," he added.
JMI said they will also represent the commercial interests of Austrian triple world champion Niki Lauda, non-executive director of the Mercedes team.
American lawyer McCormack, who died in 2003, founded the International Management Group (IMG) in 1960. Golfer Arnold Palmer was his first client.
Stewart, who won his championships in 1969, 1971 and 1973, is a familiar figure in the grand prix paddock and has long-standing relationships with a number of top brands.
He has also been working with Lotus F1 team owners Genii, but that contract runs out at the end of the year.
Unlisted JMI, founded by American former professional driver Zak Brown, was acquired by British sports marketing group Chime Communications PLC in October for $71 million.
They arrange sponsorship, hospitality and rights deals in F1, NASCAR and IndyCar. Four time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is also on their books.
"I am much more interested in the business side than I am on the motor racing side," Stewart added.
"So it makes sense, at this time, with the connections I have and the access I have, to be with a company that also has that same access," said Stewart.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tim Collings)