F1 Winter Break
Williams holds onto RBS until end of 2010
Williams holds onto RBS until end of 2010
Posted By:   |  25 Feb 2009   |  6:37 pm GMT  |  2 comments

Williams has just announced that RBS will stay with the team this season and next, but that the sponsorship will finish at the end of 2010.

RBS is conducting a review of all its sponsorships in light of the critical situation in the banking sector and the huge corporate losses shortly to be announced.

The partnership with Williams began in 2005 and was renewed in 2007 for three seasons.

RBS points out that sponsorship costs have been reduced by 25% for this year and 50% in 2010 while hospitality has been cut by 90%. RBS has made further cuts by slashing trackside advertising for 2010.

RBS noted that Williams “have been very supportive in finding ways to reduce costs over the remainder of our contract. THis early announcement allows Sir Frank and his team to plan ahead financially.”

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The purpose of a bank sponsoring an F1 team is to raise corporate/brand awareness, to an F1 audience, there is no motoring connection or implied (or imaginary) technological carry over into the sponsor's products. The only connection is money.

We are at the moment all too aware of RBS and it's breathtakingly gross mismanagement in many areas, so bad that they are also bringing down the bank that took them over to save them (Lloyds TSB).

If I were a RBS shareholder (which we all are now) I would seriously question how a basically insolvent bank could sponsor a cup of tea at present, let alone condone the massive input (I was going to say investment but one expects a return on an investment) to Williams.

The last thing RBS needs now is more publicity, it needs to creep away and hide in a cupboard. So basically the decision to keep pouring money into the black hole of F1 this year and next year is inexplicable, but given the previous management decisions not too surprising.

I would not be surprised however if it is not ended much sooner, since we taxpayers now own most of RBS the treasury may step in and say your doing WHAT? are you kidding?


A small, if perhaps somewhat irrelevant, correction to RPaco is that RBS is not HBOS, who was taken over by Lloyds TSB.

The government took 40% of Lloyds and Halifax Bank of Scotland, the group comprising the banks Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.

They then took 60% of RBS, Royal Bank of Scotland. This group comprises RBS, and the Natwest.

A very small difference and an easy mistake to make. Both came a cropper in the current crisis and have caused headaches for the government and their respective buyers. Both also happened to print Scottish notes, at least before their buyout they did. They have both recently recorded record losses - first the new Lloyds group and more recently (as announced this morning) RBS with huge losses of £24.1bn in 2008.

The reason for holding out on the sponsorship until the end of the agreement is probably that whoever is now monitoring these sort of things (if anyone is) has decided that the benefit to the firm is greater than the extra cost of cancelling the contract for the sponsorship, where I'm sure there would be get out clauses involved. They've decided the advertising is worth the money over and above the cost of cutting it dead. I would say this is quite wise - it shows the bank is still alive and kicking, albeit thanks to the UK government, and that depositors don't need to take away their money Northern Rock style.

But what do I know? I'm just a student economist ;).

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