What Happens When the Title Sponsor Goes Away
2:44pm EST — According to Alan Baldwin, Reuters Formula1 correspondent (through his Twitter account), ING, title sponsor of Renault F1, has “terminated their Renault sponsorship with immediate effect.” More information will be published when available.
UPDATE: 2:49pm EST — According to an ING press release, “in light of the verdict of the World Motor Sport Council of 21 September 2009 concerning the events that occurred at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, ING will terminate the contract with Renault Formula 1 with immediate effect. ING is deeply disappointed at this turn of events, especially in the context of an otherwise successful sponsorship.” This is, of course, after the Dutch insurance conglomerate announced in February of 2009 that it would not continue the sponsorship of the Renault team, in place since 2007. This announcement comes in the evening European time, which most teams have tried to adhere to, and in the dead of night Singapore time.
This could turn into a shaky financial situation for the Renault team, as another sponsor, Mutua Madrilena, a Spanish insurance company, also terminated its contract with Renault, announced earlier Thursday. However, the 2010 continuation of Renault F1, already announced by the team wanting to “continue to make an important contribution to the sport,” will not be affected by either ING’s not Mutua Madrilena’s withdrawal as neither company were to sponsor Renault next season. It will, however, make a difference for the rest of the 2009 season and will be most interesting to see what the Renault livery will be on this race weekend. Teams have already been setting up and have begun the weekend in Singapore, with Renault F1 maintaining the typical large “ING” on cars, clothing, and team equipment. Also worrisome is how the team will manage to continue racing in the 2009 season with far less cash in hand. (updated 3:42pm EST) Because both sponsors have terminated their contracts for Renault’s rule-breaking at last season’s Singapore GP, driver Fernando Alonso’s individual sponsorship deals with each company remain intact. Still, the team loses the remainder of this year’s $65 million from ING and $5 million from Matura Madrilena.
UPDATE: 3:25pm EST — According to Autosport.com, the ING logo will be removed from the cars and team areas for this weekend and subsequent races in the 2009 season, but the trackside logos will remain.
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