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Vodafone has denied claims that its title-naming partnership with McLaren is ending due to the communications company's unease over the decision to race in Bahrain in 2012.
A report in The Times claims that Vodafone "pulled the plug" on the partnership with McLaren "after conducting a review of the deal on the back of last year's Bahrain Grand Prix".
According to the report Vodafone had been reconsidering its involvement with F1 over the staging of last year's Bahrain Grand Prix. The company was "particularly sensitive to events during the Arab Spring after it was forced by armed forces to shut down its network in Egypt in January 2011 and send out a text message on behalf of the Mubarak government to 'confront the traitors and criminals'", claimed The Times.
Accordingly, Vodafone was unhappy about its branding appearing on the cars during the Bahrain event, a move it felt could backfire on it.
Vodafone sources have rubbished the claim, denying the decision to end the long-running partnership had anything to do with Bahrain.
Interestingly, the article also rightly mentions the fact that Vodafone branding has "disappeared" from the England cricket team's shirts, Manchester United's shirts, the Ferrari F1 team, the UEFA Champions League and the Australian cricket team... though it doesn't suggest any of these decisions were in any way linked to the so-called Arab Spring.
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