McLaren title sponsorship deal with Vodafone to finish at end of season
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2013   |  11:47 am GMT  |  141 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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just spent a small fourtune on maclaren stuff only to find vodaafone and now merc are leaving just great


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’ …)

Rustled Jimmies

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



Gulf mclaren anyone?


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


James Allen on F1 McLaren Honda


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


How does “Chipotle Mexican Grill McLaren Huyndai” sound ?


Tasty yet terrible


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…


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


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


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.


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”.


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.


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!


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?


Postman Pat?


Now imagine the livery…


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


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


Vodafone…will go over to Ferrari !



Vodafone had sponsored Ferrari in the past already!


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.

Mike from Colombia

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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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

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