RBS to end Williams sponsorship

25/02/2009
NEWS STORY

In light of widespread speculation, and a certain amount of public outrage, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that it will be reviewing its sponsorship involvement in sport, including Formula One, however, it will definitely be terminating its partnership with Williams.

The good news for the Grove outfit however, is that the bank will see out its current contract which means it will continue to sponsor the F1 team until the end of 2010.

"We recognise that we are now operating in a very different economic environment and have been reviewing all of our activities since October," the bank said in a statement issued today.

"It is imperative that we respond to the reality of the situation that we face and that we do so in an orderly way that respects the commercial agreements we have in place and the implications for our partners and the jobs they support."

In the face of the bank's dire financial state, having made one of the biggest losses in banking history under the leadership of Sir Fred Goodwin, today's announcement was inevitable. However, there is bound to be a certain amount of criticism that the bank cannot pull out of its sponsorship deals earlier.

Yesterday, Pitpass reported that there has been widespread criticism of Sir Jackie Stewart's refusal to renegotiate his private deal with RBS said to be worth 4m, while tennis star Andy Murray, in light of the bank's financial plight and the fact that it is laying off thousands of workers, said he was willing to renegotiate.

Following yesterday's article, one pitlane insider told Pitpass that when RBS was approached by another team several years ago, a representative of the bank said; "F1 will happen over my dead body", 6 months later when the deal with Williams was announced the same person was quoted in the official press release saying that "F1 is the perfect fit for us".

The Williams deal was largely the work of Goodwin, a keen fan of Formula One and in particular Sir Jackie Stewart. In light of the bank's demise there have been widespread calls for Goodwin to be stripped of his title.

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Published: 25/02/2009
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