ING and Mutua Madrilena drop Renault

Renault won't need its ING or Mutua Madrilena logos this weekend

Renault won't need its ING or Mutua Madrilena logos this weekend

The FIA felt Renault’s deliberate crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix was hardly worth punishing.

But two of the biggest names on the teams’ cars no longer wish to be tainted by association with the team’s flagrant act of cheating.

Title sponsors ING jumped ship within hours of Mutua Madrilena abandoning the team. Neither of their logos are expected to remain on the car this weekend.

ING were already going to end their association with the team at the end of the year. But they haven’t gone quietly, issuing a stinging statement leaving no-one in any doubt of why they’ve dumped Renault four races early:

In light of the verdict of the World Motor Sport Council of 21 September 2009 concerning the events that occurred at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, ING will terminate the contract with Renault Formula 1 with immediate effect.

ING is deeply disappointed at this turn of events, especially in the context of an otherwise successful sponsorship.

On the face of it, Mutua Madrilena could be running true to form by leaving the team but remaining with Fernando Alonso. The company did much the same when it left McLaren to join Alonso at Renault in 2008.

The company may now be about to follow Alonso to Ferrari, as it looks increasingly likely the Scuderia will announce him as a driver for 2010. However it’s not hard to see why an insurance company would not want to be associated with a team that deliberately caused a crash.

There has already been vociferous condemnation of the FIA’s weak punishment of Renault from the media and the majority of fans. This is a further indication of how serious Renault’s transgression was, and how the FIA failed to deliver a suitable punishment.

Alonso, meanwhile, has shown no regret for what happened and the team are obviously eager to sweep the matter under the carpet. The FIA are apparently happy to collude with them in this, and spared Alonso an appearance at today’s press conference for drivers. There will be no Renault representative at the teams’ press conference tomorrow either.

When Alonso was tracked down by Autosport’s Jonathan Noble he brushed off a series of questions about the incident and showed a distinct lack of remorse for his ill-gotten victory.

Asked what the trial had done from the reputation of the sport, he said:

I am not an expert of that. I only know what is about me, and what is about this weekend – which is the only thing that really matters.
Fernando Alonso

I had nothing but admiration for Alonso when he railed at the FIA following his patently unjust qualifying penalty at Monza in 2006, famously declaring “F1 is no longer a sport.”

That same sense of sporting integrity now seems to have deserted him. I hope he finds it again soon.

Perhaps the disappearance of two of his team’s major sponsors within hours of him declaring “That is behind us and we move on,” will persuade him that this is a bigger deal than he would like to believe.

Renault Singapore crash controversy

Image via @lukehmuse on Twitter

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124 comments on ING and Mutua Madrilena drop Renault

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  1. Hammer time said on 24th September 2009, 22:49

    Oh dear, it would appear Renault stated intention to stay in the sport may be word only. No sponsors means your team is going nowhere

  2. They were going to lose those sponsors at the end of the year anyway. Besides the moral outrage, this gives them a chance to save some money by ending their involvement early.

    I figured that with the current economic climate, there weren’t going to be many companies with deep enough pockets to become Renault’s new title sponsor. But now with this over their heads, they may have to resort to offering bargain basement rates for ad space.

  3. MacademiaNut said on 24th September 2009, 23:04

    However it’s not easy to see why an insurance company would not want to be associated with a team that deliberately caused a crash.

    I think one of the “not” should not be there. Why will an insurance company be with you if you are going to deliberately crash? To get more premium from you for the rest of your life?

  4. MacademiaNut said on 24th September 2009, 23:15

    I saw it in 2006 and I see the video again, I still don’t see a block.. sissy Massa even taking his hands off the wheel after the lap to express his disgust when he did not even get close to Alonso’s car in that lap.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEk_coNFZqY

  5. Every cloud has a silver lining…

    Now that ING in particular is gone, does that mean that we might see an end to the worst F1 paint scheme of recent years? Hopefully by Suzuka, or at worst Brazil, might there be a chance for Renault to run in their 25th (might have been 30th actually – yellow and black) anniversary scheme of a few years ago? That looked awesome!

    Start the campaign Keith – no more minga cars!

    • I am with you on that one ! Didn’t see the irony of the insurance co associated with the crash until Keith brought it up here though .. maybe they should have turned it around to the effect of .. no matter how or why you crash your car, we have you covered !

    • sato113 said on 25th September 2009, 1:30

      a silver linING!

    • I think the car looks better with out the logos on it…LOL

      And one a side note can we stop the witch hunt on Alonso soon maybe???

      Not sure what HE has PERSONALY done, yes he won the race, but there was still atleast 3quaters of a race to go after PK crash…
      So he still had to win the thing, and how he had any influence over PK and his actions is hard to fathom.

      I’m your Boss I put a gun in your hand and say to you shoot some one and I will give you a contract (money) would you do it?

      Now to go 1 further…I am your work mate, and the boss gives you a gun and says shoot some one and you do HOW does that implicate me????????????????????

      • I think that they are suffering because of their scandal. This picture didn’t really help in making ING happy for example as it damages their brand. Usually when sponsors leave the team they say in their statements how much they have benefited from the partnership and so on, this is an obvious sign they are extremely dissatisfied with Renault.

        Oh, and I would love to see them race in that gorgeous black and yellow livery – also, PLEASE change team uniforms as well if possible – drivers and mechanics look like they are wearing daipers in them.

        I think they will have to change lolipop as well…

  6. arporter said on 24th September 2009, 23:36

    they should put a big smiley face of piquet on the sidepods

    • Ned Flanders said on 25th September 2009, 3:56

      Not quite sure what purpose that would serve… but they should do it anyway! They should also rename turn 17 as ‘eejit corner’…

  7. Hallard said on 24th September 2009, 23:42

    Keith, I love the Pic you posted without the ING decals, I was just thinking about how the car would look this weekend. My question is this: Do you think that ING will insist upon Renault removing the ING-themed coloring as well, in order to prevent any lingering resemblance or portrayal of their brand? If they did it would be great, even if they left it plain white; I, like many, loathe the R29′s livery. But it might make it confusing for the commentators to have Brawn look-alikes on the track!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2009, 0:15

      ING have said their logos won’t appear on Renault’s cars, but they will remain where they have advertised on tracks:

      http://twitter.com/NobleF1/status/4349313069

      I would be surprised if Mutua Madrilena’s logos are on the cars.

    • 159Tom said on 25th September 2009, 1:31

      I’d like to see a farewell message on the cars, something like “Up yours ING”, “f***ING useless” or “RunnING off with our money”.

      Or dare I suggest the driver’s name in big letters and the car number. A bit old-fashioned I know, but if the teams have nothing else to write there, why not help the fans identify them?

    • Perhaps they will run the classic Renault yellow instead? That would be much nicer.

      BTW – The company I work still sponsor Renault F1. I haven’t heard anyone rumours of them pulling out. But then it’s such a tiny sponsor you need a great big pic of car to see the name. We also have plenty of Renault F1 themed pictures around the company walls and desktop wallpaper etc. to remind us all. I wonder if ING had a big company destuction event of ripping off pictures of Renault from the walls and smashing them in their offices? :D

  8. Maybe they could paint “Fred” and “Romy” in giant letters on the sidepods like McLaren used to to post-West.

    Some bright lawyer flagged a default clause and off they went. And they knew Renault is not going to drag them to court over it and face more humiliation, and lose. This is called kicking someone when they are down. ING also probably reckons that since Fred is going to the reds they are not going to be getting the same bargain as before anyway.

    • Bartholomew said on 25th September 2009, 0:54

      The cars should have “Fast Freddie” and “The French Government”, since they are helping Renault.
      The colours can be red yellow and green

    • William Wilgus said on 25th September 2009, 1:37

      Sorry, but I can’t agree with your `kicking someone when they’re down’. It’s simply the ultimate way of saying `we’ don’t condone what they did.

  9. santori said on 25th September 2009, 0:34

    I can’t agree with the tone of this article. ‘…issuing a stinging statement leaving no-one in any doubt of why they’ve dumped Renault four races early’? No. It’s expediency being presented as morality, which is something I find very irritating.

    • I agree. It’s a great opportunity to save millions and look good at the same time.

      • I’m not sure how sponsorships in F1 work but I think sponsors pay up front for ads on livery, in that case it costs nothing less ING to stop sponsorship 4 races early…

    • S Hughes said on 25th September 2009, 0:57

      Maybe they genuinely are being moral, or are trying to be. It is still possible in F1 you know, despite it seeming otherwise.

      • verstappen said on 25th September 2009, 8:34

        I am from the Netherlands, and I think they are (partly) being moral. This is the bank which by default doesn’t give you money if making a receipt is not possible at the ATM. The receipt being more important then the money..sums it up to me.

        And this is the country where we made the great video2000 system, which lost from the worse VHS… Because our moralistic bosses didn’t want porn to be available on their beloved system…

        Oh and by the way ING got some 8 billion euros taxmoney to save their asses… It would be very unmoral to keep on sponsering a cheating team with our tax money, I guess.

    • Having your company logo associated with an F1 team that has committed, what many consider to be, a heinous crime is bad for business.

  10. Adam Tate said on 25th September 2009, 0:54

    I’m with everyone who is excited that the cars might be able to get rid of that horrendous ING livery now! Anything looks better than that. Paint em up pretty like the R25 and R26 from Alonso’s heyday and he might just get a legitimate win at Singapore this time haha.

  11. I don’t think anyone can blame these companies for dropping Renault instantly. If they are paying Renault a lot of money in to dispaly their logos they can at least expect that a) Renault will play by the rules of F1 and b) they won’t be dragged into/associated with cheating controversies.

    Renault may have got off lightly with a suspended ban but i think we are now starting to see how damaging the scandal has been to them.

  12. S Hughes said on 25th September 2009, 0:55

    I started to intensely dislike Alonso when he tried to inhibit his teammate’s opportunities at McLaren; this dislike intensified even more when he openly said he would try and help Massa win the title last year (not even his own team) and seemed to cheerlead the bullying against Hamilton. This man is a disgrace. He has no integrity. What kind of man wouldn’t try and distance himself from crashgate? He hasn’t even condemned it when he benefited from it. He clearly lacks morals or honour and yet he appears to get away with it. I read Jonathan Noble’s interview (well done him) – how childish Alonso seemed: “I will change my language if you continue to question me” about a topic that involves him deeply.

    Well Fernando “what’s a strategy” Alonso: disgrace, happy to benefit from the most atrocious cheating, dishonourable man, that is what you are.

    BTW, I have to credit a forum member on another forum for Alonso’s new nickname.

    • Grosjean and even Piquet have remarked how helpful Alonso is at Renault.

      • Martin said on 25th September 2009, 1:51

        They were no threat to him at any time and after watching the 2 of them he could just said follow me and use my car setup and they still wouldnt have done any better. Romain was so so this year as Hulkenberg dominated the series.

    • William Wilgus said on 25th September 2009, 1:41

      I fail to understand how Ferrari would want someone like Alonso. He seems to completely lack integrity and certainly has not shown any inclination of being a `team player’.

      • Martin said on 25th September 2009, 1:52

        If alonso ends up at ferrari, I believe after a year or 2 they will part company on less than great terms.

      • inc0mmunicado said on 25th September 2009, 2:44

        soundsexactly like someone who’s driven for them a few years ago…

        • I HATE Alonso with a passion, hes one of those sportsman who you know what nothing more tahn just to win,. although this is good in someways, it isn’t when they would cheat, be a dick and generally disregard others to get what they want.

          I wish Alonso was found guilty and banned in this cheating stuff, then I wouldn’t have to put up with watching this guy go round the track and wishing he would crash…

          • I can see that many in this post would like that to happen , I think is just fear that if he joins Ferrari, he could beat Lewis. To me it would make it even more exciting to have the two top drivers in the top teams!
            By the way Hate is a very big word for someone that you probably don’t even know personally.

    • 159Tom said on 25th September 2009, 1:46

      How on earth is he going to fit in at Ferrari?

      Sounds like there’s a happy “family” atmosphere there since Domenicali’s been in charge, look at his words in support of Massa when guaranteeing him a drive, the team’s generosity towards Badoer, and the warmth of Fisichella’s welcome.

      I guess Alonso will help Massa too, until Massa starts beating him.

    • Martin said on 25th September 2009, 1:49

      I am starting to agree about the action of fernando.. his true colors are really starting to show.
      Last year also shows how intimidated he is by hamilton. Very sad to let a rookie intimidate a 2time wdc..

    • TeamOrders said on 25th September 2009, 3:09

      Boy, talk about turning a molehill into a mountain. In 2007 the guy wanted #1 status at the team, and he didn’t like his team mate much (because he was fast). If that adds up to a lack of integrity then just about every driver to ever sit in an F1 car lacks integrity.

      Did LH come out and condemn his team in 2008 over stealing the ferrari files? Did he offer to give up his wins obtained during that year. Of course not, sheese, nor would we expect him too.

      • John H said on 25th September 2009, 7:49

        Good post TeamOrders. People are getting a little caried away on here.

        However, this is slightly different to Hamilton coming out renouncing his win, because the link here was so direct.

        Alonso would have done himself no harm by saying what happened was wrong.

    • mp4-19b said on 25th September 2009, 4:19

      I second your opinion Hughes!Mr X has really stooped to the lowest possible level a human can go.He’s not only short in his stature but also in character. Teams have to realize this fact. This “short” man is extremely dangerous for the sport. He tried to blackmail a great team & a great man that existed since before he was born.He is just trying to appease Luca di monty & ferrari thats all.He always wants to be in the limelight. Wants to make the front page of every spanish news paper.Mr X is making a serious mistake. He has lost respect among the elders of the sport.

    • R U BRITISH ?

    • S Hughes – I often sit back and read your grossly self-righteous and judgmental posts on this site. It is clear that your support for ‘Lewis’ goes beyond his abilities as an F1 driver. Notwithstanding this fact, your contempt for Alonso shows you to be as one-sided and unfair as any of his alleged actions.

      You seem to forget that your driver (and I’m speaking as a Brit, not that nationality comes into this) was caught red-handed cheating himself this season. Of course, because of his tearful apology, this seems to have exonerated him. F1 is about winning – and I am not condoning Renault’s actions here – but to call someone lacking in morals just because they are a professional sportsmen (and one of the finest drivers F1 has ever known – in my opinion), and don’t want to have to face the inevitable barrage of media questions on a race weekend, is naive.

      I think Keith’s analysis of this has also surprised me in its jumping to quick assumptions. Especially the point about strategy. From the interview with Hamilton, he was essentially making the same point as Alonso, in that he is not involved directly in setting strategy. There are some races, as he said, that he does comment on, as I’m sure Alonso does. It is hardly fair therefore, to say that Hamilton ‘does and Alonso ‘doesn’t’ set strategy.

      I am admirer of both Hamilton and Alonso, but hate to see such flagrant ill-advised comments.

      • @Parkp .Interesting replies. all the while reading through this article and the other one from Keith about Strategies there was only one thing that was going through my mind.

        How did it used to work between Brawn and Schumey both at benetton and ferrari?

        Needless to say this was one of the most formidable and winnigest combination in F1 history. Every race Schumey won or climbed to the podium has been strategized by Ross. Did Schumey blindly trust Brawn on strategy or did he have a say ?

        If Schumey was in Alonso’s place in this race or any race and asked to stop at such a short distance initially would he not ask innocently what is the plan and how it is going to span out in the race and what position are they expecting though the strategy in the end ?

        But I also heard stories that Ross would radio schumey during the race saying we need take out 1/10 of a sec for next 10 laps and schumey would just do it ? Now was it just blind trust.

        Very interesting scenarios. I believe comparing one driver to another would not give any conclusive answer. It is all about each drivers comfort with the race director or engineer.

        Maybe somebody should put the same question to Schumey and Brawn and see how they answer this.

        • mp4-19b said on 25th September 2009, 6:42

          Mr X makes Mr. Schumacher look humane. At least Mr Schumacher was man enough to accept that he cheated several times to gain unfair advantage over others . But Mr X, the Spainsh troll goes to R. Dennis with some self-manipulated documents & blackmails him to make Mr X the number one driver. Mr X couldn’t even take on a rookie. He got beaten fair & square in 07. I dunno how people rate him over Kimi & Lewis. Mr X got lucky in 05 & 06. Those years should have belonged to Kimi but for his reliability problems. To sum up Mr X:-

          He is a cheat

      • S Hughes said on 25th September 2009, 12:39

        Lewis held his hands up, apologised profusely and lost his points in Australia. Alonso is being shifty, arrogantly refuses to answer questions, is clearly lying about his knowledge of strategy calls, and hasn’t condemned in any way what happened in crashgate.

        What a HUGE difference between the two. Lewis was justifiably 3rd in Australia, and he was wrongly advised and made an error and he apologised. It would have been unlikely that Alonso would have been in the points in Singapore without crashgate. So he and his team profited, and he hasn’t come out to say he feels he doesn’t deserve the win. The man has no honour or integrity, no matter how you want to spin it. Lewis is infinitely superior in that respect.

        • Lewis held his hands up, apologised profusely and lost his points in Australia.

          But Lewis only held his hands up and apologised after he’d twice lied to the stewards and it had been proven that he’d given a different version of events in a television interview. There was clear and incontestable evidence that Hamilton had lied to the stewards.

          At the time of writing, however, there is no evidence that Alonso lied about his lack of knowledge of “Crashgate”. Quite the contrary, in fact. Despite the Renault press officer saying that Alonso would only talk about 2009 he still responded to all but two of Noble’s questions. Of the two he didn’t answer, one concerned the identity of Witness X (an obvious no go area for any member of the Renault team, not just Alonso) and the other was an obvious trap designed to elicit the answer that the FIA had pursued a witchhunt against Briatore.

          There is a difference between the two but I’m afraid that, at present, it’s that Hamilton lied and was caught out whereas your intense dislike of Alonso is somehow supposed to prove that he must be lying about his involvement.

    • pull your head in, as a the current world champion I would have expected more from my team than to play favorites to a rookie, at the expense of my title defense.

      Alonso went to a new team for his own benefit to retain the f1 crown. The team wanted him there to help the team, so there is no harm is stating each has own personal interests as a priority.
      To say he “inhibit his teammate’s opportunities” is load of absolute inaccurate unjust load of tripe.

      To continue your rant and defame and liable the man is rather uncouth.

      If some prat of a report wants to harras and probe to hopefuly make him say something that he can then go and use against him, I would have been less than talkative myself.

      Some of you here; are a disgrace….

    • What kind of man wouldn’t try and distance himself from crashgate?

      But Alonso does distance himself from “Crashgate” in the Noble interview – he says he had never suspected Piquet’s crash was intentional and that he had no knowledge of the whole affair, as per the WMSC verdict. If Alonso is being truthful (and so far there is no evidence to suggest that he hasn’t) what more is there to say other than repeat that he had no knowledge and express a desire to move on?

      Granted, he hasn’t apologised for “Crashgate”, renounced his Singapore win or gone down on his knees to beg for forgiveness – but if he did you’d either complain that it was a wholly cynical gesture or claim it as proof of his complicity.

  13. S Hughes said on 25th September 2009, 1:01

    Also very disappointed with Ecclestone (mind you what more should I expect from him). He is apparently saying that Briatore should appeal his verdict and not get a lifetime ban from F1. Amazing that the guy who runs the show should be happy to have a team boss in the paddock who sanctioned such a dangerous and immoral episode of cheating.

  14. Tommyb said on 25th September 2009, 1:07

    With no sponsors to worry about they could have atleast done a good livery now

  15. sato113 said on 25th September 2009, 1:32

    if alonso is innocent, then I guess he is pretty pi*sed off at the moment. hence the hiding from the media.

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