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

  1. Prisoner Monkeys said on 25th September 2009, 1:39

    While they’ll suffer the ignomity of the sponsors withdrawing, I don’t think it will hurt Renault too much. Their only update between now and the end of the year is going to be introduced in Singapore, and all of the money from both ING and Mutua will have been paid by now. And ING was already withdrawing at the end of this season, anyway. It’ll be embarrassing, but it won’t hurt their chances.

    • William Wilgus said on 25th September 2009, 1:44

      I imagine that if the sponsors have paid all of the money for the season, they’ll be entitled to a refund. I suspect, however, that the sponsors were on a `pay as you go’ basis.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 25th September 2009, 4:58

        I doubt they’d get a refund, because Renault essentially wouldn’t be able to sped the money lest ING ask for it back.

  2. manatcna said on 25th September 2009, 2:29

    I think it’s a distinct possibility that there will be no Renault team on the grid in 2011 – maybe even sooner.

    • Agreed. I would imagine that Alonso will still say everything is running normal though, if he even says anything at all.

  3. No problem, Flav will pick up the bill.

  4. MacademiaNut said on 25th September 2009, 3:10

    I would hope Bridgestone would give them a set of tires (without their names on them) and ask their name to be removed from the car as well. Same goes for TOTAL.

    I would prefer Bridgestone refusing to give them tires, but that’s against the contract, so the above would make sense.

  5. mp4-19b said on 25th September 2009, 3:57

    Just wondering why TOTAL didn’t pull the plug??

    • Martin said on 25th September 2009, 5:18

      ToTal is french..and the french stick together.. Not necessarily a bad thing except right now. If I was renault, I would become a engine provider and sell the team and get out of f1 and regroup for a couple of years down the road. Without flavio.

      • GeeMac said on 25th September 2009, 6:53

        I’m wondering why Total sponsor Renault at all? Elf have always been Renault’s partners and they still have Elf logo’s on the car…

        • The pre-2003 name was TotalFinaElf, basically two French and a Belgian oil company under the same umbrella. Elf is probably one of the brands in the Total group, much like Mobil 1 being under Exxon-Mobil…

        • ajokay said on 25th September 2009, 9:28

          Yup, Total and Elf are the same company.

  6. Ned Flanders said on 25th September 2009, 4:04

    The way I see it, all publicity is good publicity! I’m more likely to use ING’s services if I see there name and logo on the side of Alonso’s car, even if he’s (possibly) a bit of a cheat…

  7. Florida Mike said on 25th September 2009, 4:11

    Maybe Renault will use the space to promote its Samsung Motors division, which I believe has a eye on increasing its Asian market share with new models based on Renault platforms. What better advertising could SMI hope for, and I’ll bet the price would be right.

  8. A bit of a suprise, and it just gose to show how damaging the scandal is becoming. Inded, ING was uling out at year’s end anyway- and out of F1 completely, not just Renault. But it still dosen’t look good for the carmaker when sponsors just drop off…you gotta wonder how they plan to attract a new title sponsor under such circumstances?

  9. But NO more ING pitbabes ?noooooooo…..LOL

  10. I’m seriously losing respect for “Teflonso”… the man who said that MSC was the least sporting driver in history… looks like Schumi has a contender for that position as well… :(

    di Montezemolo and Felipe should take note just in case…

  11. Oh, and one other thing….whoever said to bring back that classic blue/yellow Renault paint scheme that ran as a throwback in 2007..YES, that’s what we need on the grid!!!

  12. Very very Bad of ING and Mutua. Afterall they we together this long and they are anyway going to pull out this year end. They act like Morale Gods whereas it is because of their pressure to show a win that Flav and pat had to take this extreme step. Now they want to show how rude they are.

    Hurting somebody when they are down. This is worst way to do it. These guys are acting as if nothing wrong ever happened on their side.

    Again McLaren went through similar problems or rather worse in 2007 still Vodafone and everybody supported them now that is true sportmanship and spirit.

    This is pure Cowardice.

  13. Alex Bkk said on 25th September 2009, 6:29

    Hmmmm…bankers and insurance agents taking on a high moral air?


  14. Patrickl said on 25th September 2009, 6:34

    Alonso still thinks nothing was wrong. In fact he claims his 2008 win in Singapore was just as worthy as any other.

    He feels that he still risked his life and had to be fastest over the total 60 laps. An incident in lap 12 or 13 doesn’t decide a race. *rolls eyes*

    I once held Alonso in the greatest esteem, but he gows down yet another peg.

    Here is a bit of interview from AS “babel fished” to english:

    The previous one is no lost value because you never can decide a race that is more than 60 returns in return twelve or thirteen. It can happen of everything. I have it in the highest consideration, I gained the first nocturnal race of history. And by many things, aside from by the incident, the failures of the others, because we went more express than nobody, not to commit any error… Nobody can win or to lose a race thanks to another thing, is necessary to finish it well. Km/h by the streets went to 320. I finished without water it navigated and me in podio, could not see what was underneath. The race has the same value that any other and I gambled the life like in any other circuit.

    • mp4-19b said on 25th September 2009, 6:47

      I gained the first nocturnal race of history

      LOL!! First “Nocturnal’ race! Is he a owl or something?

      • GeeMac said on 25th September 2009, 7:03

        God bless babelfish!

        Sorry Fernando, but an incident on lap 12 or 13 does decide a race when you move up from 15th place to first. You may have “Gambing the life like in any other circuit” but this win will be tainted forever, regardless of whether you knew about Flav, Symonds and NPJ’s plan.

      • mp4-19b said on 25th September 2009, 7:03

        My Spanish is bad, but I’ll try to improve google’s interpretation of what Mr X said:

        you never can decide a race that is more than 60 laps in lap twelve or thirteen. Anything can happen.I rate that victory as my best, I gained the first night race of history.And by many things, aside from the incident, the failures of the others, I was the fastest in the entire race, I did not commit any error.Nobody can win or to lose a race because of another incident. you need to finish the race to win it. On a circuit which is almost 320 kms, I went to the podium celebrations with out water. I rate this victory of mine like any other. I took a gamble & It paid off.

        he say’s he rates this victory as any other!!
        What a bunch load of rubbish!! Mr X is a real spanish troll.

        Omg Schumacher is a saint compared to this guy. Absolutely no moral values.

        • :O Since when did we get this. This proves X was alonso then. Did I miss that lol!

        • Arun.India said on 25th September 2009, 7:56

          He treats it the same as others because he cheated in other race wins also.

          • FYI MP4-19 – Mr X was most likely Alan Premayne.

            Do you have nothing else going on, to take a step back and actually look at what you’re saying?

            Or do you want F1 to be full of identikit drivers of about one 10th of Alonso’s ability?

            (probably, judging my your immature and quite frankly ignorant remarks).

        • yes is pretty bad actually

        • What is suppose to be funny the “troll” bit or the “spanish” bit? How long have you been following F1… I think possibly since 2007.

  15. james monk said on 25th September 2009, 7:09

    Thank you sooooooo much ING. You leaving has shown how appalling the actions of FB and PS were. The FIA are shown to be exactly what they are. A bunch or spinless, money orientated jokes. Good riddance Mosely

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