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Dutch banking group ING has officially confirmed that it is to end its involvement in Formula One at the end of the current season. This means an end to its sponsorship of the Renault F1 Team, title sponsorship of races and trackside advertising.
A statement issued this morning reads:
"In light of the recently announced cost reduction programme, ING confirmed today not to renew the three year sponsorship (2007-2009) contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in F1 beyond the 2009 season. ING's participation in Formula 1 was the company's first global sponsorship project aimed at delivering revenue and raising the global brand awareness, particularly in ING's key growth markets. Over the past two years, ING has successfully achieved its objectives for the F1 sponsorship, raising its overall global brand awareness by 16% (March 07 vs November 08).
F1 remains a powerful business driver even in a difficult economic climate. Whilst ING has cut the F1 sponsorship costs by 40% in the final year, revenue generating opportunities will be a continuing focus through 2009. ING has enjoyed the relationship with Renault F1 and will continue to work closely with the team during the final year of the partnership."
The company had warned at the end of January that it was to cut back on its F1 commitments as a result of the ongoing global financial crisis which has seen the company have to accept a bail-out from the Dutch government.
At the time the banking group said it would be looking to cut operating expenses by EUR 1 billion this year.
"The structural expense reduction will lead to annual savings of approximately EUR 1.1 billion from 2010 onwards," it claimed. "Of the cutback, 35% will come from a reduction of the workforce by approximately 7,000 full-time positions in 2009. The remainder of the expense reduction comes from decreasing costs for our head office, marketing, the Formula 1 program, consultancy, third-party staff and the renegotiating of certain contracts with IT-vendors."
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