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Latest quotes- Williams discuss RBS pullout
Latest quotes- Williams discuss RBS pullout
Posted By:   |  25 Feb 2009   |  6:55 pm GMT  |  1 comment

Williams CEO Adam Parr has just done a conference call with the media on the news that RBS is to pull out of F1 at the end of 2010.

“It isn’t good news for the sport for a sponsor like RBS to announce it’s withdrawing. We’ve suspected for some time that there wasn’t much chance of the sponsorship continuing beyond its term, ” he said.

“In the latter part of last year we lost two or three significant partners, Lenovo, Baugar and Petrobras. But we also had 10 of our partners renew and four of the partners who renewed were major upgrades, meaning they at least doubled. The FOM revenues are stronger this year than last year and there are some significant cost savings from the cut in testing.”

“Overall we have a solid budget for next year, but we are also in advanced negotiations with other partners. For 2010 we have 90% of the sponsorship for this year confirmed for next year and we will have further significant cost savings. ”

On Toyota he said that the manufacturers have committed for at least the next three years and he thinks that Toyota will stay beyond that if costs are brought under control.

Asked how hard it would be to replace RBS, Parr said,
“I’m confident that for 2011 we will have a strong sponsorship roster. No individual sponsor is make or break for us. It’s incredibly difficult to bring new sponsors in, but the return on investment is compelling.

“Last year RBS accounted for 10% of our revenue. They are one of our two senior sponsors”

Parr also said that the figure of £20 million on the BBC was “too high”. He was not specific, but the figure is likely to be more like £12 million per season.

Parr admitted that in the last three years the team had ‘spent beyond our means’ and that it would be paying off its debts this year and next. He reiterated that the cost savings FOTA and the FIA envisaged would make Williams’ budgets more closely aligned to the other teams in F1.

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Who will be the sponsors of F1 tomorrow? Banks were previously seen as possibly the best rock solid trophy sponsor. However, events over the last few months have shown otherwise. And this raises a serious question about the future ideal sponsorship partner for an F1 team.

Ironically, the few million pounds that of Williams sponsorship could be lost as an accounting error, a tiny fractional sum in the £350 billion of toxic debt "held" by RBS.

"We’ve suspected for some time that there wasn’t much chance of the sponsorship continuing beyond its term, ” -- Williams CEO Adam Par}

"SUSPECTED!!!!" Unless he was on a different planet for the last 6 months he should be surprised that he has ANY money from RBS at all for the next ten minutes, never mind the whole of this season and next. Quite why the sponsorship was not totally withdrawn INSTANTLY by RBS is only answerable by looking at the quality of the RBS board's previous decisions. There must have been a "force majeur" clause in the contract.

Ok. I have played devil's advocate here, but F1 has to live in the real world, it cannot live in isolation. Do you think any of the motor manufacturers, whose own very existence is in now the balance, can bear the burden? In the US, the majors are waiting on the result of their request for more bailout money. In the UK? Well here most of the motor manufacturing will probably be wiped out in the next year or two taking with it many parts and components suppliers who may also be current motor sports sponsors.

The most probable survivor sponsors are those associated with F1's glamour. Those who project the affluent lifestyle, the daily essentials of the millionaire. Camera makers of course are a traditional sponsor, casinos, jewellers, champagne brands. Walk around the streets of Monte in the electric atmosphere of the night before the race and you see money in many exotic forms, there is plenty of money, its just a matter of extracting it.

Then there are the successful grocers, Coca Cola, Pepsi etc they could be persuaded to divert some of their vast Christmas tv ad expenditure to F1 but only IF the worldwide TV coverage gave better OTS. Thus what Bernie does, very directly affects the possible sponsorship deals and survival of the teams in many more ways than may be seen to be apparent.

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