Vodafone to end F1 sponsorship

Vodafone have announced they are to pull out of Formula One racing at the end of the season after a long running sponsorship deal.

The company had paid up to $75million a year for a sponsorship package centered on the McLaren team whose star drivers included Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button.

The termination followed a global review of Vodafone’s sponsorship partnerships which has seen them end their sponsorship of the England cricket team and Champions League football in the last few years.

Vodafone are one of the biggest global brands to support F1 since the ban on tobacco advertising.  Initially they sponsored Ferrari before moving to McLaren in 2007 after which the team claimed an impressive 34 Grand Prix victories.

Vodafone claim that the decision was not made on price, and are expected to spend the same amount on locally targeted events which fit with their new global branding strategy.  As part of this they will be focusing more heavily on direct sponsorship of local events rather than partnering with other brands.

Chief Commercial Officer Morten Lundal said;

“Our relationship with McLaren has been a key ingredient in bringing the Vodafone brand to where it is today.  However, our brand is evolving and we’ve concluded we will have less of a need for this kind of exposure in future.”

McLaren now begin their search for a new title sponsor with speculators believing they may look to the homeland of their new Mexican driver Sergio Perez for possible tie ups.

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