ING, the Dutch financial services giant, is poised to sign a sponsorship deal with the Renault Formula 1 (F1) team. The global bank will replace cigarette brand and title sponsor Mild Seven.
Anti-tobacco advertising laws mean the Japanese cigarette brand will not be allowed to sponsor the team from next year’s season, when its contract expires. The ban allows existing contracts to be honoured.
ING has confirmed it is in talks with Renault, although no deal has been announced as yet. It is not known how much the deal – likely to run over several years – is worth, although Mild Seven’s annual contract is estimated at $50m (26m) a season.
The McLaren Mercedes team is also understood to have been interested in the Dutch bank as a sponsor but could not guarantee substantial exposure due to the Vodafone title sponsorship in 2007. It is thought any deal with ING would lead to a change of livery for the Renault team. Earlier reports linked ABN Amro, the Netherlands’ largest global bank, with the team. However, a spokeswoman for ABN Amro has denied that the bank is involved in discussions with Renault.
Earlier this year Telecom Italia signed a three-year, 25m-a-year deal to sponsor the Ferrari F1 team (MW June 1). The company’s broadband provider Alice signed as a main team sponsor, confirming speculation that the Italian telecoms group was interested in acquiring an F1 sponsorship property to raise its profile (MW January 12).