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Key sponsors dump Renault but keep hold of Alonso
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Key sponsors dump Renault but keep hold of Alonso
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Sep 2009   |  8:39 pm GMT  |  85 comments

There was a very serious development this evening in the Renault cheating story. Two of Renault’s key sponsors have today pulled out of their relationships with the team with immediate effect. Title sponsor ING, which was due to end its $65 million a year deal at the end of this season and Spanish insurance company Mutua Madrilena is also calling time on its $5 million a year deal with the team.

ING quits Renault (Photo Darren Heath)

ING quits Renault (Photo Darren Heath)


However both companies will continue their relationship with lead driver Fernando Aloso until the end of the 2009 season.

The statement from ING reads as follows;

“ING announced today that 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. As announced on 16 February of this year, ING decided not to renew the three year sponsorship (2007-2009) contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in Formula 1 after the 2009 season.”

Both companies are able to exit because of breach of contract. But the timing is interesting, coming right at the start of the Grand Prix weekend. An announcement of this kind is bound to create headlines, but especially so in the hotbed atmosphere of a race weekend. It’s a serious blow to Renault and begs the question as to what sponsors it may be able to find for 2010.

Total oil was said to be stepping up its spend on the team for next year. So far the French oil giant is still on board, but if it too goes, then it will be hard for any company to associate itself with the team and Renault’s continued participation in F1 must be open to doubt.

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1

Bit late surely for the world of finance to start getting some morals.

2

IMG and Mutua Madrilena. Remind me not to do business with these two companies that turn their back on people when the going gets tough. They try to be politically correct because in recent years this is the direction our society has gone. Blame everyone else for our mistakes. However there are still some people left on this planet that do not turn their back on people in need.

IMG are having financial issues so they get to save approximately 15 million on this season’s contract, if they were to be honest and say we are pulling out as we have a clause and this saves us money, but to pull and run behind a cloud is pretty shallow. IMG has had more press coverage in the last few days and they should be grateful and not running off into the night.

A few at Renault did something pretty pathetic and paid the price. Piquet did not pay the price, well he will because he will never get another drive for a top team, he will only get drives in mediocre sports car events to attract press coverage.

If i see a TOTAL petrol station today i am filling up!

4

Grosjean goes off at turn 17 in Friday practice at the Singapore Grand Prix – session stopped. Oh the irony.

Great blog James. Thanks.

5

ING today announced a AUD 1.8 billion sale of assets hel in Australia and New Zealand in order to help recapitalise it’s balance sheet – the company was seriously knocked around by the global financial crisis and I think the failure to continue it’s sponsorship was excused by the Piquet affair, but by no means caused by it.

6

At least ING has learned his lesson from the credit crunch. It is not business as usual as the FIA and Renault want us to believe!

7

I was told that McLaren ‘supported’ their sponsors all through Stepneygate. I assumed that meant that they kept them informed and answered questions. Renault, given the time-scale, didn’t have that option.

Given that sponsorship is essentially publicity, I can’t help thinking that ING could have got more out of this. The Singapore race will probably be one of the most viewed this season. The Renault cars will circulate with the cameras on them but not decals. There will be so many cameras facing the Renault pit that ING might well feel they lost an opportunity.

A bank seeking the moral high ground? That I have to see.

8

Hi James

I don’t know about you but, much as I enjoy all the off-track shenanigans that are part and parcel of F1, I am beginning to grow a bit tired of the current situation of lies, cheating and general intrigue.

So I thought I would share this with you; I’ve just listened to perhaps one of the most inspirational people alive today talking, with incredible eloquence and humour, about life, sport and human endeavour. It has given me some well overdue relief from spoilt drivers, manipulative team managers and apologetic engineers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/eleanoroldroyd/2009/09/zanardis_paralympic_dreams.html

Alex Zanardi. What a legend.

9

Many thanks for this Steve.

Alex is such a nice guy.

10

Steve,

thank you so much for that link. It is an amazing reading and it proves the human category in Alex Zanardi.

11

Just read this at the BBC website…

“The Singapore paddock was fretting with talk of another scandal to come before the season is out and perhaps that is why few wanted to judge Renault and the “crash-gate” plotters too harshly.” Wonder what she means?

12

Pressure on Ghosn will be mounting as Renault shareholders begin to ask questions.

13

Fair weather friends: Relationships as deep as puddles. McLaren’s sponsors stuck it out and were rewarded in the end. Banks; can’t trust them and you can’t rely on them. They should have stood by Renault to the end of the season and shown a bit of backbone, the culprits have gone and the rest of the Renault F1 team would appear to have ended up the victims in the end. No loyalty, very shabby.

16

Quite a stroke of luck for ING and Mutua Madrilena. They get to save some money, get free publicity, and appear to be on the moral high ground by ending their sponsorship with Renault. Somebody is going to get an extra-large bonus at the end of this year.

17

Couldn’t agree more Craig. Free publicity, moral PR and they even save a few bob leaving early. Bas***ds.

18

A very good point! Much better exposure than just being visible on the cars for 5 more races… at this time of the season, we’re so used to the logos, that we really only see the colours on the cars, not logos!

Anyway, the logos on the cars should be relatively easy to deal with (they aren’t actually painted on, are they?), but how fast can they redo the stitching on all these overalls??

Let’s hope that Renault makes some long-term decisions soon, for next year, so they can attract some new people.

19

An entirely predictable outcome; that if falls on the eve of the race in which ING is the title sponsor; the race that “returns to the scene of the crime,” even makes the timing logical. They wanted to make a statement, even embarrass Renault. Harsh, but understandable.

I continue to believe that Renault IS finished in F1 as a team. They may remain as an engine supplier. Sponsorship money will be thin on the ground for them after this. With their title sponsor pulling out in such a publicly humiliating way for them, Renault is now radioactive to sponsors. They simply will not be able to afford an entire team, not with the financial situation at large, not with the need to devote resources to the core business.

Someone will buy the Enstone facilities, possibly at a bargain price, thereby maintaining or increasing the size of the grid. It will be interesting to see who does so. Possibly, Prost will come back into it this way.

Unfortunately, I can’t see any way around layoffs there. That’s just too many people to carry as cost cutting takes hold — particularly if sponsorship is hard to come by. I doubt that ING will come back in just with a change in management.

20

Colour me cynical but I expect ING are far from “deeply disappointed”.

It’s just what they need to trigger some exit clause in their contract. Given that Renault aren’t going to achieve much this year anyway and ING have better things to be doing with their money (such as give executive bonuses, no doubt) it’s a no brainer to use it to get out.

21

The team name was “ING Renault F1 Team”, so ING is as involved as Renault… they should be both punished.

22

The team’s name is ING Renault F1 Team. This will presumably have to change but is this allowed mid-season?

Unless the Total sponsorship takes off in a big way, Renault will need almost to re-invent itself to attract new investment and a high profile team principle such as Prost may help here (although I would be fearful of his suitability in other ways). A star driver would help, too.

The real damage, I suspect, will be in diverted energies, with development of next year’s car potentially compromised. Brawn worked wonders this year with a conceptual advantage under new set of regulations but next year’s cars, despite the refuelling ban, will be more evolution than revolution.

23

My question from a previous thread answered!.

I’m curious whether ING are seeking to recover any money paid to renault between singapore 2008 and now.

24

Couple of things I came across just now, regarding how things are falling apart at Renault:

Insurance companies cannot sponsor a team that causes it’s own accidents, so this weekend even Brawn GP will have more sponsors on their cars than Renault.

On the weekend that Briatore departs from the team young Romain Grosjean has a little accident in the pants department. Bricking it already?

25

This next week should be very interesting on how it all plays out…. I think by early week the driver market will start to move and sponsors as well as it looks

26

Looks like we will see a return of the Yellow Teapot, the car only covered in Renault and Elf stickers.

James, Singapore 2008 title sponsor was Singtel – as is this year, not ING.

27

What a mess. The sponsors are looking for themselfs, it is understandable.I just hope renault find some money for next year.

I am wondering what kubica must be thinking. It doesn’t seem a great move right now, if ge goes to the french team.

28

Holy cow – thats huge !

29

The whole Crashgate thing was manna from heaven for these two sponsors. Both companies still reeling from the financial crash get a rock solid get out clause to save them perhaps $15 million between them. That will go someway to paying Alonso in the future. Nice opportunity.

Hope for their sakes that ‘witness Y’ doesn’t creep out of the woodwork and drop some poo on the other Renault driver of that weekend. But that will not happen of course, he is too valuable to the gruesome twosome.

30

Will and how long will it take Renault to change livery? Must be a big cost to Renault to manufacture/paint a whole new set of car panels/wings and ship them in time.

31

It’s easy – they are surprisingly lightly attached…. plenty of sponsors on one race deals, no point in painting on the decals.

32

For me the lack of unity and support of these companies reflects very badly on both of them. Mutua Madrilena’s sponsorship bed hopping antics over the past couple of years are particularly distasteful. The fact that they continue with Alonso is hypocritical at best.

As appalled as we have been at Renault’s troubles it would have been much more honourable for both of them to have stuck it out at least till the season’s end.

I’m glad I have no relationship with either and I wish Renault could find a way to shame both this weekend.

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