RBS has confirmed its widely-expected move not to continue its sponsorship of the Williams F1 team beyond the end of its current contract. The deal expires at the end of the 2010 season.
The bank is in serious financial trouble and is being supported by the UK government.
As discussed yesterday brand ambassador and former three-times F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart is under pressure to relinquish or cut the £4m salary he receives from the bank. Stewart played a significant role in arranging RBS’s sponsorship of Williams.
RBS confirms plans for F1 Sponsorship
25 February 2009: RBS and the Williams F1 team today announced that their partnership will conclude at the end of the current contract in 2010. The partnership began in 2005 and was renewed for a second three-year term in 2007.
Andrew McLaughlin, RBS Group Director, Communications, said: “We recognise that we are now operating in a very different economic environment and have been reviewing all of our activities since October. It is imperative that we respond to the reality of the situation 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. Throughout our relationship, Williams have shown great understanding and innovation in driving the programme forwards. They have been very supportive in finding ways to reduce costs over the remainder of our contract. This early announcement allows Sir Frank Williams and his team to plan ahead financially.”
Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of Williams F1, added: “RBS has been a great partner for this team and we are pleased to have made our contribution over the past four years to developing the RBS brand internationally. Thanks to the support of RBS and our many other loyal partners, we are in a strong position to ride out the inevitable challenges of the next two years. RBS is showing great responsibility to the role that we play in the British economy, supporting over 500 highly skilled technology jobs in a sector in which Britain leads the world. In the last three years, Williams has spent over £100 million with 2,700 UK suppliers and it is of course important that this business endures.”