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. monaco73 said on 25th September 2009, 7:28

    It’s completely understandable for the two top sponsors to withdraw. Renault must have been expecting that.

    However, Alonso’s “everything is completely normal” interview was very strange indeed. Not a hint of remorse or mention of the damage to F1′s reputation. And to suggest everything is completely normal within the team is just plain bonkers!

    He’s trying to stay on message and do what his PR has briefed him to do. But as a two-times world champion, a known critic of the FIA, and a man with an intense passion for formula one…I’m afraid he sounds like a dumb-ass corporate drone here. Some reflection, acknowledgement and motivational words for the F1 crew there in Singapore (who must be seriously p****ed off) would have helped the team and make him come across more like a triple world champion in waiting.

  2. I think I am getting sick of reading about articles and comments from people that are nothing but negative. All talk the last few years in F1 is scandal, negative bull. The good old days will never return. $$$ in sport has detroyed the very thing that sport is all about!!!

  3. steph90 said on 25th September 2009, 7:55

    I can sort of see what Fernando’s saying-he didn’t do anything wrong he just raced like he should. Alonso’s damned no matter what he does at the moment. If he focuses on what happened people will question him more and if he tries to put it behind him then he endorses cheating or is at least morally bankrupt in many eyes. Although Renault should have been stripped of the win as it was gained from cheating.
    Renault can make a decent livery now, but more than that I hope they can get some sponsos. The team shouldn’t have to leave the sport because of 3 men who were obsessed by winning and furthering their careers.

  4. Ronman said on 25th September 2009, 8:04

    The more F1 drivers are questioned on the issue, the less I respect them….

    Can one of them give a straight forward opinion on the matter???? they all are taking the safe side thinking, i might race for Renault one day, i shouldn’t trash them now, after all it was Flavio…. or is it actually more sinister,

    maybe perhaps, drivers are not commenting or in deed condemning for the unfathomable fact that some or most of them have participated in someway at cheating and race fixing???? and wouldn’t want someone calling them damn hypocrites, and blowing this rotten apple we call a F1 wide open…

    • The more F1 drivers are questioned on the issue, the less I respect them….
      Can one of them give a straight forward opinion on the matter????

      Maybe they are just clever enough to understand why they have to mantain his mouth closed in front of F1 press.

  5. Praveen Titus said on 25th September 2009, 9:14

    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.”

    I’m with you Keith. I had great admiration for Alonso too, but after I read Autosport’s interview of Alonso and the irresponsible way he dodged questions, I, an arcent fan of Alonso, am beginning to dislike him. But avoiding questions may be more of a policy of the Renualt team or Alonso himself. He used to dodge questions whenevr journos asked him about KERS-related issues at the beginning of the season.

    • Praveen Titus said on 25th September 2009, 9:16

      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.”

      I’m with you Keith. I had great admiration for Alonso too, but after I read Autosport’s interview of Alonso and the irresponsible way he dodged questions, I, an arcent fan of Alonso, am beginning to dislike him. But avoiding questions may be more of a policy of the Renualt team or Alonso himself. He used to dodge questions whenevr journos asked him about KERS-related issues at the beginning of the season.

      • Why wouldn’t he dodge questions? English is not his first language, if he says the wrong thing he’s only going to set himself up for trouble. And going by past experience he probably reckons he’s going to get a raw deal anyway.

        Alonso is never as slick as Hamilton in speaking to the English press, and in any case from the look of things, he’s never to go get a fair hearing anyway. Hatred for him is so deepset — judging just by comments from this blog — that he is going to be condemned regardless of what he says or does.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2009, 17:26

          he’s never to go get a fair hearing anyway. Hatred for him is so deepset — judging just by comments from this blog — that he is going to be condemned regardless of what he says or does.

          There’s nothing at all unfair about the line of questioning in the interview:

          http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/78824

          And your remarks about “hatred” are miles wide of the mark. I was totally behind Alonso on the Monza penalty three years ago, and a lot of commenters on the site have said similar things. He’s let himself down badly in how he’s handled this.

  6. Alonso is still in Renault and Flavio is his friend. I understand that he doesn’t want to answer, because he cannot speak his mind openly. Maybe in some years we will know his true opinion on all that.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2009, 17:27

      Maybe in some years we will know his true opinion on all that.

      Fair point but the same was said about his time at McLaren and in two years he still hasn’t explained much of what went on there.

      • Why should he – keith, maybe you should start writing for the Daily Mail..

        You claim to be a serious F1 enthusiast, but the only person I am losing respect for out of this whole affair is unfortunately you..

  7. The sponsors were due to leave at the year anyway so they still would have had to look for more sponsors next season, the question is how has race fixing affected that.

    It will be relatively easy to take the logos off the cars and as has already been mentioned hopefully Renault will take the opportunity to change their livery to something decent after Singapore. However when you think they will have to take the ING logos off everything such as team clothing I wonder if they will manage that by the weekend?

  8. Its not more likely Ferrari will buy Renault(and strategists) than Alonso after the recent verdict…

    hoho

  9. Why should Alonso show remorse, he wasn’t the one who orchestrated the whole thing. It is not his responsibility to feel guilty. But something else you have to take into consideration, Alonso is leaving the team end of the season, he can’t now start bad mouthing everything that goes on within the team. Almost every driver interviewed about the fiasco chose not to comment, why should Alonso be any different.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2009, 17:28

      Because he’s the one who benefitted from his team mate being ordered to crash.

      • And that makes him guilty?

      • Well he drove his race with all the innocence of a white dove. :-
        In reality, Alonso can’t afford to do anything that would further cause Renault embarrassment. Its not his responsibility to renounce the win, it is the responsibility of the FIA to take it away from him.
        Who knows if the FIA will sanction him for renouncing the win.

  10. ¡Ay por favor! Can we please leave Alonso out of this. If he had something to do with this, then oh well lets go on with racing, if he did do it, then shame on him and still lets get on with racing. Senna and Prost crashed into each other back in the day, and no one said anything, no one hated Senna for crashing into Alain, no one hated Alain for crashing into Ayrton, and yet everyone hates Fernando for not crashing. I don’t mean any disrespect for anyone in here.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2009, 17:30

      no one hated Senna for crashing into Alain, no one hated Alain for crashing into Ayrton

      Eh? There was and still is tons of bile thrown at both men from fans for their crashes into each other.

      • Well you know what I mean, in respect that people today regard them as greats and over look the fact that they did that back in the day. Is what I really meant.

    • Martin said on 26th September 2009, 2:43

      I lost respect for both drivers for their antics to win the wdc. Senna is now gone and prost is relegated to an uminmportant level so they are no longer a subject of recenmt conversation.
      When I mention them it is to put reference to the days we are in noww and how it relates.
      Both were great drivers, neither liked each other although I understand that prost tried to become friends with senna and was shut out.
      The reality is that they actually started the current form of winning at all cost. The fia should have banned all their results for their action in the year they crashed each other out and that would have sent a clear message to the younger drivers that this form of competition is not acceptable.
      Maybe if they had we wouldnt be talking about a team principle, the cheif engineer and a child throwing a race.

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