ING is to end its sponsorship of Renault’s Formula 1 team at the end of this year.
The Dutch bank says it will not renew its three-year contract with the F1 team beyond the 2009 season “in light of the recently announced cost reduction programme”.
ING announced last month it was to cut back on F1-related marketing as part €1bn cost-cutting drive after reporting a £3.3bn loss in the last three months of 2008.
The bank is one of the biggest sponsors of the motor sport, sponsoring individual races and Renault’s star drivers Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet in addition to the Renault team. It also advertises heavily trackside and last March launched a global Iris-created television campaign starring Alonso.
Despite the announcement, ING says it will continue to focus on F1 –related “revenue generating opportunities” this year.
“ING has enjoyed the relationship with Renault F1 and will continue to work closely with the team during the final year of the partnership,” it says.
The news comes as a further blow to F1 which is still reeling from Honda’s December announcement that it is to withdraw from F1 if a buyer is not found. The move prompted debate over the financial health of the sport as car makers globally cut spending in the wake of the worldwide economic slowdown.