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McLaren and Vodafone to end partnership

NEWS STORY
14/03/2013

On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix weekend McLaren and Vodafone have announced that their seven-year title partnership is to conclude at the end of the season.

In the six years since the partnership was first formed in 2007, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has scored 34 Grand Prix victories and won the 2008 Drivers' World Championship.

A statement issued by the team reads:

"Having met and exceeded all the highly ambitious targets that Vodafone had set for its title partnership with McLaren, the company has now decided to focus on business priorities away from Formula 1 sponsorship.

Vodafone continues to be only McLaren's fourth title partner in its 50-year history and we are committed to innovate together, both on and off the track, for the rest of this year.

While the current title partnership is in place with Vodafone, McLaren will not disclose its new title partnership, but will make an exciting announcement on 2nd December 2013, following the last Grand Prix 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 McLaren Mercedes 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."

Pitpass first predicted the end of the Vodafone partnership in July 2012, at the time suggesting that Coca-Cola, one of the world's most recognisable brands, might fill the void. Coca-Cola has since partnered with the Lotus F1 Team but in terms of its Burn energy drink.

Earlier this week, Martin Whitmarsh paid tribute to a number of his team's sponsors, name checking not only Vodafone but also GSK, whose energy drink branding on the McLaren has included the company's Lucozade, Maximuscle and Boost brands.

While many will see this as another loss to the Woking outfit, following the 'defection' of Lewis Hamilton and Paddy Lowe, both to Mercedes, it remains to be seen what McLaren, surely the most corporate of F1 teams, has up its sleeve.

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