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We know F1 is expensive but...

NEWS STORY
05/04/2009

This is perhaps going a bit too far. The venerable Times newspaper has produced a list of the top ten failures which led to the near collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Surprisingly, at number five in the list, above having the wrong management and the wrong risk practices, is its sponsorship of the Williams F1 team.

RBS' former boss Sir Fred Goodwin has been hammered since his departure from the bank in January with protesters recently vandalising his Edinburgh home so one would imagine that having the wrong management was a bit more significant than any of its sponsorship deals. After all, RBS posted a loss last year of 24bn whereas the bank only spends an estimated 13.5m annually on its partnership with Williams.

The sad fact is that for all the talk of cost-cutting and the proposals to make F1 teams profitable (and even environmentally friendly), the sport is cemented in people's minds as being a lavish hobby. This is an impression which F1's bosses have carefully cultivated over the past decade with Bernie Ecclestone saying several years ago that "you have got to run Formula One like a boutique, not a supermarket."

It is an image that is clearly tough to shake off.

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