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McLaren title sponsorship deal with Vodafone to finish at end of season
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2013   |  11:47 am GMT  |  140 comments

McLaren and Vodafone will end their long-running title sponsorship deal at the end of the season.

During the partnership, which began in 2007 and was worth $75m per year according to the Financial Times, the team won 34 races and the 2008 drivers’ world championship with Lewis Hamilton.

In a statement ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, McLaren said they would announce a replacement for their title sponsor for 2014 after the conclusion of the season on 2 December.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “We’re immensely proud that, having been set a number of ambitious challenges by Vodafone back in 2007, together we’ve met or exceeded each and every one.

“Our focus is on continuing to drive results for all our partners throughout the 2013 season and we look forward to making a major title partnership announcement towards the end of the year.”

Vodafone are only McLaren’s fourth title partner in the team’s 50-year history and the two brands will continue to work together for the rest of the season.

Vodafone group chief commercial officer Morten Lundal said: “Vodafone and McLaren set ourselves highly ambitious goals in 2007.

“Over the past six years, we’ve set new standards in sports marketing together, and in doing so have achieved all of those objectives. We look forward to continuing to work together throughout the 2013 season.”

Vodafone ended a three-year sponsorship deal with the Champions League at the end of the 2008-09 season and a four-year deal with the England cricket team in 2010.

According to the Financial Times, Vodafone said the decision to end the partnership was not made on price, with the telecoms company expected to divert a similar amount into a global branding strategy.

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140 Comments
  1. Pete_Nepal says:

    Can anyone say “Telmex?” :D

    1. Horno says:

      Hahaha, I thought the same..
      (Perez )1+1(Vodafone leaving)=2(Telmex)

    2. Randy_Torres says:

      +1

  2. Rob says:

    McLaren is only gonna go down from now on
    They lost Lewis, lost the title sponsor now, they have to pay Mercedes for enines now and that looks like the beginning of the end to me

    1. Phil says:

      They lost Senna, they lost Marlboro, they lost Honda…and a couple of years later did the double. Same with Williams in the 80′s. The end is a long way off…

    2. Craig says:

      Interesting opinion but a couple of thing might stop your doomsday scenario-

      Honda have announced that they will return to F1 in 2015 as an engine supplier in all likelihood to McLaren. If there is one thing Honda do well….

      Perez is backed by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, who in turn owns Telemex the largest telecoms company in south/central America. Now I wonder where McLaren might get a sponsor for their Mexican driven car from? Hmmm?

      But yep, it might only take losing a sponsor to bring the whole 60 year of success falling down.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Honda did engines well in the 80′s. By 1991, the writing was on the wall and ever since they have done nothing to prove otherwise.

      2. F458 says:

        Honda was one of the weakest engines compared to the pacesetting BMW/Ferrari/Mercedes engines circa 2001-2008. Too heavy and poor power output.

      3. Shane says:

        Bill Gate’s is now the richest man in the world as of this year. He re-took the title

    3. forzaminardi says:

      I’m not sure you understand the scale and scope of the McLaren empire. This is not ‘just’ a F1 team, or even ‘just’ a major F1 team, it is a commercial and engineering organisation far bigger than that. Also you have missed out on the fact that a major sponsor will be announced on 2nd December – the specifics of the date and the nature of that announcement (plus McLaren’s general marketing professionalism) are such that it is unlikely to be hot air on the off chance that a major sponsor can be inked between now and then.

      The same tripe was put about when Marlboro moved to focus on Ferrari, and when Honda pulled out of McLaren, and when West pulled out. McLaren are not going to go out of business any time soon, with or without Vodafone.

      In December I expect McLaren to announce the arrival of a major new sponsor in tandem with confirmation of a long-term deal with Honda. I don’t anticipate the sponsor being Telmex or an organisation connected to Perez specifically – Telmex have been quite categorical in saying Sauber are serving them well given the level of awareness they seek and the level of outlay they want to make.

      1. Hendo says:

        I agree – the issue here is Vodafone – they are more likely to go out of business than McLaren

      2. David Nelson says:

        Big +1

      3. David Nelson says:

        Losing Vodafone…..big deal! The big Western EU/US players are strapped for money. The mid-term development/growth sources are primarily from the “BRIC” economies, that is Brazil, Russia, India, China. While clearly not a BRIC, Mexico is a leading “developing” nation and will have stable growth for at least a couple of decades whilst the EU struggles. All these economies will have expanding budgets whilst EU companies slowly but steadily lose influence and market share. If Vodafone were not constrained by contract to McLaren they would have pulled out years ago. They have pulled out of everything else, as stated above. Mr Slim should be a FAT target for McLaren.

    4. Sebee says:

      I have hope thay McLaren will make the deals.. They will re-invent themselves. They have time.

      Sure would have been nice to have that 100M back in the bank right about now.

    5. Kevin Green says:

      Ridiculous comment lol and who is to say it is not Mclaren choosing not to renew the deal through Vodafone not willing to stump up as much as another organisation??

      1. Rob says:

        I don’t think you can compare F1 of ’90 to now, where they try to save every penny. The truth is they lost Merc back up and they will go down sooner or later, like Williams did. You’ll see.
        I’m just happy for Lewis that he found a nice place

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Whose comparing era’s or talking saving pennies? down the same path as Williams you really are making a fool of yourself now, Have you any idea of the scale Mclaren work on as a whole inc outwith F1?

    6. Craig D says:

      Yeah, because (top) teams have never had quality drivers move on/retire, changed engines and sponsors. Nothing (in life in general) remains static forever. The nature of the sport is cyclic. I’m sure a similar person would have said it was the end of McLaren after 1993 or when they lost Honda engines and had their mid-90s doldrums.

      Now there may come a time when McLaren may become like Williams or even a time when such a team may fold altogether, but there’s no reason to suggest the end is nigh at present!

    7. Adam says:

      I am sure in the short term your prediction may be correct, but for the rest of us we remember the days when they lost Honda Engines, got Peugeot and then went through the further pain of refining the Mercedes engine and went on to win World Championships. So I highly doubt you are correct long-term. Honda engines and Mexican money will prove you wrong!

    8. Phil says:

      Pretty similar to the mid-90s, really.

      Honda left after ’92 and the team had to pay for Ford Cosworth engines, Ayrton Senna left at the end of ’93, and then there was the split from Marlboro in ’96.

      And yet, somehow, the team struggled on…

      1. Clear View says:

        +1 well put. McLaren have fingers in so many pies these days I think that winding up their F1 adventures are most unlikely. They make engine management sytems for several racing series’ also they have the road car side which spears to be doing quite nicely too (similar to Ferrari business modle) so I don’t see them having any major head aches over it all. I can see it now, good by “Vodafone Mercades McLaren”, hello “Telmex Honda McLaren”

      2. F458 says:

        Ferrari are backed by Fiat who are McLaren backed by?

    9. Monji says:

      Add Paddy onto the list.

    10. Shane says:

      They announced Honda engine supplier as of 2015 a few months ago so they’ve gained that

  3. Alex Date says:

    The Times claims that this decision was influenced by the protests surrounding the Bahrain GP http://twitpic.com/cb84y9

    1. Yak says:

      Vodafone are pulling out of sports sponsorship all over the place, not just in F1. Even if they weren’t particularly happy about issues with Bahrain, I doubt it really played any part in the decision making.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Vodafone are broke. I’m sure they did the sums and their lawyers told them to just wait until the end of the contract.

  4. Steve says:

    Not surprising given similar withdrawal of sponsorship in Aus.

    James, is there much to the rumor that Telmex is a possible replacement?

  5. AlexD says:

    Not a big deal, I guess. Looks like they will have a Mexican title sponsor, same industry.

    1. Simple says:

      Seems the logical assumption, doesn’t it.

  6. AMSG says:

    Vodaphone are pulling out of everthing sports wise. They pulled the deal with the champion V8 team down under. In a country market where they are in a good fight for market share of the mobile sector. Must be an alternative agenda somewhere ??
    As for Mac. If they come out with Mexical telecomms branding, we all know what everyone will say !!!!!!!!!!

    1. Lindsay says:

      You must not have noticed but Vodafone is still losing customers hand over fist in Australia. The motivation for pulling out in Australia is unlikely to be the same as that of the global parent company.

      And, amusingly, Red Bull stepped in to take over sponsorship of the leading V8 Supercar team after Vodafone had withdrawn.

    2. Brent says:

      …that you have to have the worlds richest sugar daddy to buy a seat at McLaren.The kid ran a couple of solid strategy races, when did that ever qualify anyone for a McLaren seat.

    3. Rich says:

      Indeed. But then we could ask how is Ferrari securing Santander as a major sponsor, when Alonso arrived, any different?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        1) Alonso was already a double world champion before he had any association with Santander.
        2) Ferrari has never struggled for sponsorship.
        3) Marlboro still pays huge sums to Ferrari.

    4. Richard in Aus says:

      Not surprised. While JA would never admit it, I bet its because of the increasing prevalence of pay tv deals. Fewer eyes watching means lower return on investment. McLaren will be able to get a replacement because of their prestige/success. However, I expect Williams, Sauber, F India to remain without major backers (in the case of FI, sponsoring yourself doesn’t count).

      AND RE Voda

      “In a country market where they are in a good fight for market share of the mobile sector”

      Pull the other one! Voda have been loosing market share in Aus, now they are fighting off a class action over their poor network. Telstra has pulled far ahead of everyone down here.

      1. Random 79 says:

        In all fairness they did want to work out their problems with their customers directly, it’s just that none of their customers could get a connection to talk to them ;)

    5. McLaren78 says:

      I don’t think they’ll be wrong!

  7. Donald says:

    Presumably the announcement at a set date is because they have something in – or close to – the bag?

    1. Random 79 says:

      They would have seen this coming a mile off, so I think they would have been making contingency plans for a while now.

      1. Donald says:

        Hoping for Greggs Mclaren Mercedes, personally.

        Fast. Dynamic. Filling!

    2. Joel says:

      They want the season to be over so that when Telmex is announced as a title partner, Sauber would have an opportunity to find a replacement in-time for the next season.

    3. I think the date is significant because it will be immediately following the final date of the current commercial contract with Vodafone (which must expire 30 November – with 2 December being the next “business” day – a Monday).

  8. Ry says:

    Hmmmm…… Telmex McLaren Honda?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I don’t think the first part

      1. Jonathan says:

        nicely put!

      2. forzaminardi says:

        Go to agree, James. You have your finger on the F1 pulse, I don’t, but from the marketing point of view I don’t see Telmex needing a bigger presence in F1 than they have with Sauber, especially if a deal with McLaren means spending big – the value for them isn’t there. I forsee a Honda engine/sponsorship deal along with an Asian or American title sponsor, a global brand name possibly from the consumer electronics sector.

      3. forzaminardi says:

        Just to clarify, I meant “American” in the ‘Born in the USA’ sense, rather than the geographical ‘could also include Mexico’ sense.

      4. Random 79 says:

        A return of Panansonic maybe?

        That would suit everyone who is gunning for a return to the red and white livery :)

    2. Random 79 says:

      I’m about 98% sure that James means the Hmmmm.

      Maybe it should be:

      Zoommmmmm Telmex McLaren Honda ;)

      1. Ry says:

        Ha, ha, ha….

    3. Joel says:

      If McLaren has to sack one of its drivers i future, will it then be Button?

  9. The fact that Lewis has gone and they are now paying for their Engines doesn’t mean that McLaren are on the way down. It’s actually silly to say that, especially as Lewis really didn’t add anything to McLaren. Also the fact Vodafone are leaving McLaren doesn’t make one iota of difference. Vodafone are pulling out of ALL sport sponsorship.

    Besides, from what I’ve read, McLaren will be using Honda power from 2015. And with Perez on board, they WILL get a huge sponsorship deal from a company in Mexico. Carlos Simm isn’t short of a few bob, and it’ll be one of his companies that will sponsor McLaren.

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      ”especially as Lewis really didn’t add anything to McLaren” – How did you came to such a conclussion ?

      1. So-Chan says:

        bs opinion as usual or he’s in denial! LOL!

    2. Joel says:

      “as Lewis really didn’t add anything to McLaren”

      That is a stretch – in F1, Lewis probably has the biggest branding power, even if he doesn’t win a championship. This man is always in the news – good or evil and has a huge following in some of the major markets. I don’t think Perez has the same class brand appeal as Lewis – miles apart.

    3. JEZ Playense says:

      You are very confident that Perez will be at Macca in three more seasons? Why?

  10. goferet says:

    Interesting.

    So Vodafone pulled their sponsorship of Ferrari when Schumi retired the first time in 2006 and now they’re pulling out of Mclaren not long after Lewis left.

    Now if the rumours prove correct that Mexican sponsors will fill the void, perhaps this will indicate the initial rumours that Mclaren knew of Vodafone’s exist for a long time and calculated Perez’s sponsors were the best bet to take over.

    I guess this makes Perez Mclaren’s first pay driver in quite some time.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I see your point – and you might well be right – but Alonso brought Santander to Ferrari – does that make him a pay driver too?

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      There was an article in F1 Racing, Feb or March 2005. Vodafone wanted title sponsorship of the Ferrari but Marlboro had chosen to take over full signage rights.
      Vodafone was released from Ferrari, and they were a secondary sponsor paying around $80,000,000 a year.

    3. Gr1gory says:

      Indeed! This new sponsor deal should be revealed soon…actually it could just explain why Perez is a ‘pay driver’ although McLaren proudly would never admit that. And Whitmarsh has been denying the facts too much that should Telmex come in, we’d definitely consider they went after Slim’s money!

    4. Simmo says:

      Very interesting point there, just adding another twist to all of this contractual confusion!

  11. Des Inecowntz says:

    Just when they’ve got the livery nailed.

    Following sponsor will need to have a circular logo with a chromatic bias towards the red end of the spectrum.

  12. Patrik says:

    A Coca-Cola McLaren Honda looks possible. Marlboro would be even better.

  13. goferet says:

    Vodafone are only McLaren’s fourth title partner in the team’s 50-year history
    ————————————————-

    Maybe it’s time Mclaren changed their business policy from focusing on winning races to winning championships.

    It appears the big sponsors are really interested in world championship winners for only then would they get full exposure.

    Personally, I think I would spend a half of the £50 million F1 sponsorship on internet and Tv adverts and keep the other half for my shareholders

    1. Random 79 says:

      Only 4 title sponsors over a 50 year period means that each one sponsored the team for an average of 12.5 years – that’s nothing to sneeze at.

      You can only win one WDC or WCC a year, but the average consumer forgets as soon as the next season begins…and I’m not sure that anyone but the fans really pays attention to the WCC to begin with.

      Winning a race every two weeks has a much bigger immediate impact.

      There is room for improvement at McLaren, but I think they’ve got their business heads screwed on straight.

      With pay TV making a bigger impression I’m not sure paying for TV ads would cut it anymore…unless it’s like pay TV in Aus where you’re paying to watch the same amount of ads as FTA ;)

      …and if your keeping half of the $50m in sponsorship for the shareholders than it’s not really $50m in sponsorship; it’s $25m in sponsorship and $25m for the shareholders…situation normal.

    2. JEZ Playense says:

      I agree, a few championship trophies would be nice! Coming third of 4th is OK, but…

  14. Rob says:

    Jenson and Whitmarsh are a disaster combo.

    McLaren really need to get better people.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      I wouldnt be suprise if the Jenson/Whitmarsh combo outscore the Lewis/Brawn combo..

      Dont forget that Jenson had a solid season in 2011.

      1. Kay says:

        Don’t forget as well that Brawn and MSC.

        Jenson also had a great year with Brawn in 2009.

        Who says Brawn isn’t good?

    2. Colombia Concalvez says:

      It’s sad to see indeed, don’t forget Sam Micahel aswell

    3. Random 79 says:

      Agreed.

      I vote Roadrunner and Wile. E. Coyote.

    4. John S-R says:

      Of course, its Jenson and Martin’s fault!

    5. Joel says:

      Whitmarsh is decent, I believe. However, his love for Jenson isn’t.
      This man can’t stop talking about Jenson at every opportunity he gets.

    6. zootrees says:

      How so??
      We haven’t seen a JB with mclaren team 100% behind him, now JB can get a car that suits him better.

      Plus I don’t know if they have the money/stability to just shell out for “better” people, or do you think they just need bigger names?

    7. Gazz says:

      Oh dear, this really demonstrates the lack of business knowledge of some fans…… Seriously if you honestly believe that VP went because of JB and MW then you are so mistaken. VP stated last year to the team that their sponsorship would end at the end of 2013 due to their expansion in other areas. Sponsors come and go but the team will always remain.

  15. Jon Bishop says:

    Sad to see such a successful partnership come to an end… wishing all involved a successful final season.. ENJOY !!

  16. Andrew Carter says:

    Unfortunate, but not a surprise since Vodafone have been pulling out of sports sponsorship left right and centre.

  17. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

    Enter Mr. Slim.

    1. James Allen says:

      Clearly his presence is significant, but I do not believe it will be Telmex.

      I think he’s brokering deals with Lat Am companies on McLaren’s behalf.

      But a $75m a year deal is hard to replace like for like..

      1. McLaren78 says:

        I can only see PetroBras or America Movil

      2. bearforce1 says:

        I agree with this James.

        There is no doubt things are going to be tighter at Mclaren. No more free engines and losing a 75 million dollar sponsor. I bet Mclaren won’t be able to find a replacement sponsor who will pay close to that amount. The Vodafone/Mclaren sponsorship deal was made during much better days pre GFC.

        So costs are going up and income going down. Mclaren are going to feel the financial pain and this should adversely affect there performance. It may well be another Williams.

      3. Jon Wilde says:

        I imagine Carlos Slim will be pushing for a race in Mexico before increasing his own backing of drivers.

        I tend to agree with others on this site that Telmex title sponsorship would be a bad sign for the team. The deal requires Perez performing well, which is something of an unknown. A risk I imagine Mclaren might not be prepared to take. a Telmex deal would also likely impact future driver selection, again something a top flight team should not be considering.

        Emirates makes sense! Coca-cola could be possible with them testing the water with Lotus this year

  18. Sam says:

    This is surely no great surprise. Vodafone’s commitments with sports are never indefinite. For instance, relationships with Manchester United and the England cricket team were for a relatively brief period only. They feel they have achieved what they can with McLaren, so will move on to a different field.

    McLaren will have no trouble finding new sponsorship: in fact, they seem to indicate that it’s already been done.

  19. Kevin Green says:

    My money is on Coca-cola absolutely amazed thus far they have never really had any high pprofile team title sponsorship under there title name,

    Mclaren would do well to step away from let’s face it Mercedes rightful silver colours back into there most successful familiar red and white colours.

    And of course this would tie in with both Honda and Coca-cola not to mention the heritage of glory days, they would do well to put the last 5-6 yrs behind them there most successful commercially probably and worst on circuit arguably.

    1. Dave says:

      I would love to see McLaren back in their Red/White livery with Honda engines!

    2. Random 79 says:

      I can see all the McLaren fans grinning and rubbing their hands together.

      Yeah, it would be nice :)

    3. Rich C says:

      No, Coca-cola is probably the *last company in the whole world that needs more global exposure!

      You can go *anywhere and walk into a place and get a coke!

      1. Kevin Green says:

        think your forgetting modern drinks trends though and the sway is heading towards energy drinks ie redbull, theres little sports more global than F1 so makes perfect sense especially with redbull in f1 and falling coca cola sales.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Not true: KFC only does Pepsi, at least down here… :(

      3. Rich C says:

        Thats because they used to be owned by Pepsi. When they spun them off back in the 90′s the new company signed a lifetime contract to supply only Pepsi products.

  20. Daniel M says:

    So in 2015 instead of Vodaphone-McLaren-Mercedes we could be seeing Telmex-McLaren-Honda? And perhaps a move back to a white livery instead of silver/chrome?

    Certainly it seems there are a few years of change ahead for the team. But change is not always for the worse.

  21. Quade says:

    This is sad.
    Maybe thats why McLaren took on a dodgy pay driver.

    Whats going on at McLaren these days? Everything seems to be up in the air at the mo. I hope other teams don’t begin to take advantage (like Merc did) to strip and cannibalise the team with the best, cleanest and easily the most successful F1 history (when morals are weighed). McLaren is a fairytale, F1′s own Cinderella; and that is how it should remain.

    :(

  22. Marcelo Leal says:

    McLaren is a sucessfull company, and everyone knows that. But I think they need to realize that drivers and “huge” talented drivers are really important too!
    They did lose Lewis Hamilton last year, and how long will take to get another one? People say that McLaren has “created” Hamilton since early age, but why don’t we have one “LH” each year then?
    The media talks as a talented driver like LH is simply made and McLaren has the “formula” to do so…
    My point is that McLaren knows that they have messed up losing the fastest driver on the grid, they know to have two “second” drivers that english media try to convince people that is good enough. The big sponsor is leaving the boat, and next year they will need to handle new regulations (that everybody knows will be difficult for teams that do not have their own engine), etc.
    McLaren has proven they have competence to survive momentst like this, but in my opinion that was not necessary if Ron was a little more humble and not let hist proud of keeping trophies and trying to play down the value of a gifted drivers.

    1. Joel says:

      Correct.
      McLaren has been enormously successful in F1-however, in the big scheme of things, it is still a small company, niche. It is important to feel proud of what they have acheived so far, but what I feel disappointed is also the arrogance exhibited at times from the very top-level. Lewis is petuland, everyone knows. But, for Ron to come out and say “we pay him, and not the otherway” is insulting to any driver – din’t feel like a “family” as Jenson has portrayed.
      Also, loyalty doesn’t mean someone will have to be indebted to them throughout their lifetime. It was unprofessional of them to whine about telephone # salary, etc. Win or lose, McLaren has to be graceful.
      Whatever, I think the team will survive this problem… as they have always. Good luck.

      1. Cliff says:

        ” It was unprofessional of them to whine about telephone # salary,”…In the middle of a global recession that has lasted since 2008, what a great statement!

        Look at it another way, Lewis quite rightly wants to negotiate a new contract and get the best terms, who is the employee and who is the employer? Looking back, Ron’s comments in Canada were probably said in the knowledge that Vodafone were most likely not going to renew their agreement, McLaren would then have been considering the ‘worst case scenario’ (a deficit of $75m). Without additional funding in place, why would they overstretch themselves?

  23. Doohan says:

    Monster Energy Mclaren

  24. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    The important thing is… they are gonna change their colors on the car.

    The color of money is the same -no matter which is the sponsor-. Actually, with electronic transactions, you can’t even see the color of the bill!

  25. Gordon says:

    Is it normal to announce this kind of thing now? Would you not wait until later in the season?

    1. Jonathan says:

      better to announce it than try to deny rumours. Media will by trying to get confirmation of this new sponsor rather than suggest McLaren are doomed as Vodafone leave.

      I hope the December announcement will include details of a new team shirt for race wins – they mustn’t abandon those – Red Bull need to remain jealous of such a great marketing idea. They are on a par with Mansell’s Monday ads by Mobil – “Man sells oil”

    2. Random 79 says:

      Maybe if it was a secret…which it’s not.

    3. I know says:

      Such a deal would be impossible to keep secret. Better to make an announcement now and control the messaging, than having to answer rumors later.

      I would not read much into a date for the announcement of a successor – it’s simply a date shortly after the end of the season, which is when the current contract ends. I would be surprised if they had already negotiated a new contract so far in advance, unless it’s with a partner who is not purely economically motivated.

      1. Cliff says:

        Probably even more simple, If they are in negotiation there could be a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in place. NDA’s are now common practice, during the tendering process.

  26. Michael says:

    How long did Mclaren think they could go without winning something? Being a top team and living on past glory isn’t good enough these days.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Pretty sure they were still winning races, and they still are a top team.

  27. Steven says:

    Another reason to the list of as to why Lewis left.
    I guess Jenson better get used to having Perez as his teammate, Checo is paying Jensons salary LOL.

    1. Joel says:

      May also be the reason why Jenson has been too generous towards McLaren recently with his comments… :)

  28. Neshaen says:

    What of past rumours about Coca – Cola (or one of their energy drinks brands) becoming a sponsor? Me thinks Telmex is the new title sponsor though. It’s only logical!

    1. I know says:

      I think Telmex (or Claro) is quite unlikely – The Claro brand is already a major sponsor of Sauber, and the Telmex brand has a largely domestic focus, so it isn’t really suited to an “international” sport like Formula 1, where most of the sponsors are global brands.

      Coca Cola would be surprising – I don’t think they have much to gain from it. If you look at their record, they like to sponsor events (like the Olympics), rather than particular teams.

      I think airlines (especially Emirates or Etihad), oil companies (BP, with Shell and Total already involved), international telecoms (T-Mobile?), energy companies (e-on), or global banks (like HSBC, but of course, McLaren already has a relationship with Santander, although I believe only until the end of the season) would be the most likely contenders.

  29. Gustavo says:

    McLaren is by far the best team in terms of understanding and developing partnerships. I know this because I’ve been close to another partnerships of theirs and their focus, dedication and execution are impeccable. Ferrari is the only team to bring more value to a partnership than McLaren because of their brand.

    I’m sure McLaren will have a very strong title sponsor, but if it ends up being Telmex then it may not be the best news for McLaren. Slim is well-known for bargaining very hard and they would not pay nearly the same amount than Vodafone.

  30. James McNulty says:

    Makeway for Honda!

    Mclaren Honda F1 Team anyone?

    Or are Mclaren tied to Merceds for next year?

    Would be nice if it was a British title sponsor.

    British Airways McLaren has a nice ring to it!

  31. Alex says:

    McLaren has developed quite a relationship with glaxosmithkline. Could a sponsorship partnership be a furher development of that relationship? Afterall there are a few of GSK’s rivals in various forms already in F1.

  32. Mike from Colombia says:

    This does not look good.

    a) Negative perception of further losses of key people and partners

    b) If Telmex or Claro do come in as title sponsors then Perez is effectively given an easy ride in terms of how well he has to perform. He had 3 good finished in races with unusual circumstances. His talent is not proven and the decision to hire him was a kneejerk reaction by McLaren after losing Hamilton.

    For McLaren’s sake, I hope that there is some up-and-coming pool of Mexican talent out there…because right now not any are convinced that Perez will become a superstar. How will he cope in deep end Anglo-Saxon work environment at McLaren ?

    c) If I was Jenson Button then I would be concerned. With a team mate somewhat shielded by the title sponsor…..McLaren’s expectations of each team mate will not be the same.

    If Perez underpeforms and Button only performs solidly then McLaren has to look for a star driver with the X-Factor. Perez will be shielded so Button would unfairly have to make way. Or, otherwise, McLaren put up with its perennial underperformance.

    John Watson hit the nail on the head with his recent comments on McLaren.

  33. Jon Wilde says:

    Emirates Mclaren – 2014
    Emirates Mclaren Honda – 2015

    The Emirates FOM deal already mentioned a possible team collaboration. Given the recent history (2006 lead sponsor deal) Mclaren are the logical choice.

  34. DB4Tim says:

    Vodafone…will go over to Ferrari !

    1. Kay says:

      What..?!

      Vodafone had sponsored Ferrari in the past already!

  35. Rich C says:

    I doubt it would be Telemex. They have no need to advertise globally.

    It’ll be someone thats already an international Name but wants to expand globally, like… FedEx, or UPS, DHL… except they’re already taken.

    So who else?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Postman Pat?

      1. Rich C says:

        Funny enough, the US Postal Service used to always sponsor a bike team in Europe. I never understood the point.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Not sure, but to help improve performance maybe they could have a dog on track chasing them ;)

      3. Kay says:

        Now imagine the livery…

  36. Gr1gory says:

    Is McLAREN going deep down to the path of looking after ‘pay drivers’ because 2013 looks like a year they’ll be missing a top driver, top TD and now big sponsor…All started and finished with ‘enfant prodige’ Lewis Hamilton! Everything is connected!
    Shame it ended with sour grapes!

  37. SunnyD says:

    Mclaren aren’t for the dumpster just yet! Mexican bob and jenson will keep the team ticking over quite satisfactorly. Arsenal F.C and Mclaren have something in common. Both have good financial turnovers,but no new trophies,and always getting by on past glories. Oh,and both teams had better staff driving them back then.

  38. MichaelG says:

    I wonder if this announcement has anything to do with recent business articles concerning Vodafone and their US partner Verizon. Verizon is a major US telecom and its wireless division is the largest in the US. They’re currently in partnership with Vodafone but it’s rumored that Verizon wants to take full control over the Verizon Wireless enterprise from its current joint ownership with Vodafone.

    It was reported that Verizon was looking at various options including: taking control of Verizon Wireless, ending its joint venture or perhaps a full merger with Vodafone.

    A Reuters story stated, “Vodafone has embarked on a program to sell assets it did not control, aiming to streamline its portfolio and return cash to shareholders who felt the company’s share price did not reflect the sum of its many individual assets.”

    Maybe the Vodafone leadership couldn’t justify a continued major outlay in F1?

    I remember during the US Grand Prix last year, the McLarens were rebadged as “Verizon McLaren Mercedes”.

  39. shri says:

    In this economy, no new sponsorship is going to be easy. Good Luck to McLaren and all teams looking for money. Without such sponsored funds F1 will fold.

  40. James says:

    Fewer viewers these days because of pay TV deals? Step forward Sky McLaren Honda.

  41. quattro says:

    Was not some of the dictatorial ruling families in some of the Arab Gulf states, major stakeholders in the Mclaren team? $75m/year is change for them, so nothing to worry about for Mclaren…

    1. Ashboy says:

      I was thinking the same, the next sponsor will be from the Middle East .

  42. DonFernando says:

    How does “Chipotle Mexican Grill McLaren Huyndai” sound ?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Tasty yet terrible

  43. Probably has something to do with the ongoing merger / acquisition speculation around Vodafone and Verizon

    Interesting that McLaren has broken the news so early. This would seem to suggest that 1) They do not have another sponsor lined up and 2) they are trying to give themselves as much time as possible to find a new (big) one.

    I don’t back the Telemex suggestions. The new sponsor will prob be a global brand to properly leverage the exposure

  44. Kay says:

    James Allen on F1 McLaren Honda

  45. Ray says:

    How come noone has mentioned the possibility of onw of the following
    1) mclaren make their own engines? Consider that the mp4 has a v6 turbo block, granted much larger than the ones which will be used next year, still dont think thats a coincidence
    2) vag group engines. V6 turbos available in everything. Nothing like sticking it to merecedes than throwing an audi powerplant in there.
    3) a total outside bet, bmw?

    However it is about time for a honda return but while there is no loyatly in f1, the mclaren-honda partnership ended very sourly

  46. Ray says:

    Errrm
    Gulf mclaren anyone?

  47. Rustled Jimmies says:

    Etihad, Emirates, Gulfair or Qatar Airways. My money’s on Qatar: pots of cash and a looming World Cup to promote.

  48. PetardHoister says:

    Despite the kerfuffle from the knee jerked reactionists I think this is actually worse news for Vodafone than it is for Mclaren.

    I think Mclaren have already got a new title sponsor and are bound by Vodafone to keep it under wraps for a good long while yet, what with Vodafone paying them millions this year for the privilege.

    Name 3 F1 teams off the top of your head.

    Bet at least half of you would name McLaren.

    McLaren have history and pedigree, and a poor showing in 2 practice sessions doesn’t do a lot to dent that. I’d lay good money that there is a queue lined up to take over from Vodafone, and that Telmex isn’t in it.

    I’d not be entirely shocked to learn that one of their existing sponsors is stepping up, someone like Diageo, alcohol not being banned like cigarettes are or a brand new (no pun intended) hi-tech sponsor with oodles of money like Google.

    (also if it did happen to be Diageo, Pimms livery is red and white, just sayin’ …)

  49. rob says:

    just spent a small fourtune on maclaren stuff only to find vodaafone and now merc are leaving just great

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