McLaren and Vodafone confirm split at end of 2013

Jenson Button during a Vodafone VIP Live in Manchester event

Jenson Button during a Vodafone VIP Live in Manchester event

McLaren‘s title sponsor Vodafone has decided to pull out of Formula 1 after a high profile seven year partnership, and it appears that the Woking based team already has a new title sponsored to take over, with an announcement scheduled for December.

It emerged mid last year that the lucrative deal could be in doubt beyond 2013, with the Financial Times reporting that the British telecommunications giant was “reviewing” its major sponsorships. The same newspaper, citing a company spokesman, said Vodafone has indeed decided to end the estimated $75 million per year McLaren deal.

Sergio Perez with Jenson Button during the McLaren MP4-28 launch

Sergio Perez with Jenson Button during the McLaren MP4-28 launch

Amid the speculation last year, McLaren decided to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton with Sergio Perez, a Mexican who entered Formula 1 in 2010 with the lucrative backing of the billionaire Carlos Slim-linked Mexican telcom Telmex.

Despite Perez’s switch, Telmex still sponsors Sauber, but rumours will surely now intensify about a switch to McLaren to replace Vodafone.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said last September: “I did have a conversation with Carlos Slim … but we have made an offer to Sergio, we are paying him well and there are no side deals. I’m not saying that ultimately there won’t be other fresh partners coming forward because of it (Perez’s signing) but that wasn’t the motivating force.”

“While the current title partnership is in place … McLaren will not disclose its new title partnership, but (the team) will make an exciting announcement on 2nd December 2013, following the last grand prix of the season,” said the Woking based team. (GMM)

Vodafone began their F1 deal with McLaren in 2007 when Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drove for the team

Vodafone began their F1 deal with McLaren in 2007 when Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drove for the team

McLaren Statement:

Vodafone and McLaren have today confirmed that their very successful seven-year title partnership will conclude at the end of the 2013 season.

Since 2007, Vodafone and McLaren have formed one of the most successful partnerships in the history of motorsport. In the past six years, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has scored 34 Grand Prix victories, won the 2008 Drivers’ World Championship and last season won seven races – no other team won more.

Having met and exceeded all the highly ambitious targets that Vodafone had set for its title partnership with McLaren, the company has now decided to focus on business priorities away from Formula 1 sponsorship.

Vodafone continues to be only McLaren’s fourth title partner in its 50-year history and we are committed to innovate together, both on and off the track, for the rest of this year.

While the current title partnership is in place with Vodafone, McLaren will not disclose its new title partnership, but will make an exciting announcement on 2nd December 2013, following the last Grand Prix of the season.

Vodafone Group Chief Commercial Officer Morten Lundal said: “Vodafone and McLaren set ourselves highly ambitious goals in 2007. Over the past six years, we’ve 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 throughout the 2013 season.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “We’re immensely proud that, having been set a number of ambitious challenges by Vodafone back in 2007, together we’ve met or exceeded each and every one. Our focus is on continuing to drive results for all our partners throughout the 2013 season and we look forward to making a major title partnership announcement towards the end of the year.”