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Vodafone and McLaren end partnership after 2013 season

by Muntaser Mirkar Posted on March 14, 2013 20:11 IST 642 Views

Vodafone has decided to end its title partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 outfit at the end of the 2013 season


Vodafone McLaren Mercedes



In an ever-changing political and financial atmosphere in Formula 1, one of the biggest news stories from recent times is today’s announcement of Vodafone ending its title sponsorship of the McLaren outfit at the end of the 2013 season. The telecom giant has cited its decision to ‘focus on business priorities away from Formula 1’ as the reason for bringing the sponsorship deal to an end.


Vodafone, who also sponsored Ferrari in the early years of the last decade, switched to sponsoring McLaren from the 2007 season when Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drove for the Woking team. Incidentally Vodafone’s departure from McLaren comes in at around the same time that a number of key members of the team have chosen different directions including Lewis Hamilton and Paddy Lowe who have both moved to Mercedes.


While McLaren has been extremely competitive throughout Vodafone’s association with the team, they have managed to secure only one Drivers’ Championship so far – with Hamilton in 2008. In those six years, Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes has 34 Grand Prix victories under its belt. Speaking about the announcement Vodafone Group Chief Commercial Officer Morten Lundal said, “Vodafone and McLaren set ourselves highly ambitious goals in 2007. Over the past six years, we have set new standards in sports marketing together, and in doing so have achieved all of those objectives. We look forward to continuing to work together through the 2013 season.”


Vodafone also ended a three-year partnership with the Champions League at the end of the 2008-09 season as well as a four-year deal with the England Cricket team in 2010. Vodafone’s title sponsorship with McLaren was reportedly worth $75 million per year. With Vodafone exiting the Woking squad, question still remains on who the next title sponsor for the team will be. In its 50-year history, Vodafone was only McLaren’s fourth title sponsor along with Marlboro, Yardley and West. McLaren has confirmed that it will make the formal announcement of its next title sponsor on 2 December 2013 – after the current season ends.


This could also mean that the new partner could currently be sponsoring another team and if we were to speculate, it seems likely that Mexican giant Telmex should be interested, considering their ties with Sergio Perez who replaces Hamilton at McLaren in 2013. Rumours are that Coca-Cola could also be interested. 


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