Williams to lose RBS sponsorship in 2010

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.

Press release:

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.”

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11 comments on Williams to lose RBS sponsorship in 2010

  1. Boston F1 Fan said on 25th February 2009, 20:38

    - Wow, that’s huge.

  2. Adrian said on 25th February 2009, 20:41

    Something tells me Williams will have known this was coming and will already be planning ahead to find a replacement source of funding. That combined with the cost-cutting measures really coming into effect next year means that this is not the huge blow for Williams that a lot of people will assume it is…

    • I don’t know about that. It’s sponsor after sponsor for Williams. Baugur Group, Lenovo, Petrobras and now RBS. That’s effectively every major partner gone in just a few months. And where are they going to get the extra money from?

      At least RBS will continue for the moment, but I wouldn’t mind betting it’s at a reduced rate like ING are doing with Renault. I hope Toyota come to the party, since they’re getting a Japanese driver developed, which really cost Williams points last year. Nakajima’s poor qualifying often put him 6-8 slots behind Rosberg last year.

    • Bear in mind Williams also have the prospect of losing Rosberg as well if their performance doesn’t improve. So if they don’t do better, their driver prospects won’t look good, and that’s a double whammy for attracting sponsors – below par performance and drivers who aren’t up there.

  3. Arthur954 said on 25th February 2009, 22:49

    Now THIS would be a class team for Virgin to get together with. I see an ALL – BRITISH SUPERTEAM that could attract a star driver who might be out of work in the near future.

    With good backing, Williams has shown the world what they are capable of.
    Williams – Cosworth – Virgin ……. with a good English driver and the Big Man himself

  4. Yeah i’m with Arthur on this, now’s a great time for Virgin to not only sponsor, but buy into the team, re-brand it as Virgin Williams and what not.

    Only problem will be the paint, it’ll have to be red and white – which is like toyota, ferrari and force india. The williams blue was a nice change of pace.

  5. Jay Menon said on 26th February 2009, 4:59

    Was watching this RBS-Williams segment on the BBC this morning. Sir Frank seemed pretty upbeat about replenishing the team’s coffers for next season, I guess they’ve known this was coming for a while now. He’s been in the sport for years now, he’ll know some handy wheeling and dealing. I’m pretty confident they’ll be ok come next season. The Virgin idea is great, providing Branson doesn’t put his livery on the Hondas.

    As for Jackie Stewart, there was no mention in the news about his salary. The segment mentioned that the likes of Andy Murray, Zara Phillips and Sachin Tendulkar will be affected, no mention of good ol’ Jackie.

    Don’t Virgin paint some of their planes with a Dark Blue?

    • Adrian said on 26th February 2009, 8:33

      I think Virgin would be flexible enough to use the Virgin logo in White on a Dark Blue background…afterall, they’ll want to stand out from the crowd and red and white just wouldn’t..!!

      There’s a great quote from Frank Williams on the cover of one of the motorsport magazines I saw on the shelf yesterday… “I’ve done the whole dodging Bailiffs thing before years ago…”

      I think that sums up the mentality of Williams and why they will succeed if it’s even remotely possible. They’re there to race and more importantly to win, not to make money and not to fill the coffers of their owner.

      I would also just like to add that I think a Virgin – Williams linkup would be a fantastic collaboration…

  6. Its not a big surprise that RBS are not renewing their contract with Williams. I just hope that Williams enjoy some good results and race wins this year so they are more attractive to sponsors.

  7. Frank needs to start schmoosing the oligarchs, Chinese and Indians big time. Having said that RBS ends their Williams deal at the end of 2010. We can only hope the crunch will have turned a corner by then and we will be experiencing the upturn that they keep telling us will come at some point…

  8. Intheknow said on 7th May 2009, 10:39

    The big secret is a RBS group company will now take the sponsorship, either direct line or green flag

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