McLaren Mercedes risking sponsors withdrawal 

Written by David on September 14th, 2007 at 2:23 pmLast Update: September 14th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes sponsorsFollowing FIA’s decision, McLaren-Mercedes could be “hit hard” again from the economic point of view. Vodafone, main McLaren sponsor, has already doubts: “To continue sponsoring McLaren?Before that, we’ve to be sure about team’s future”.

The first reaction following World Motor Sport Council verdict where McLaren-Mercedes has been fined $100m and excluded from 2007 Formula One Constructors’ Championship, is the reaction from the team’s sponsors. The spy story consequences would’ve upset most of all Vodafone, the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world, that has a a 5 year, 100 million pounds contract (nearly 150 million euros) with McLaren. A Vodafone spokesman told earlier The Times: “We have to speak with the team in order to have a clear picture on its future”.

In addition to Vodafone, that in the past was sponsoring Ferrari and now has a contract with McLaren, other sponsors tied to Ron Dennis’ team may rediscuss their respective contracts with the Silver Arrows. Johnnie Walker‘s (whiskey producer), Santander‘s (spanish Financial institution) and Tag Heuer‘s (Swiss watchmaker) contributions are crucial to the team. McLaren’s annual budget floats around 280, 300 million euros. The inevitable financial fall-backs given FIA’s verdict, could be “soften” with new sponsors entering the team or with Mercedes presence, currently owning 40% of McLaren and supplying for over 12 years the engines.

In the meantime, from SPA Francorchamps circuit where on Sunday Belgian Grand Prix will take place, Fernando Alonso is confident that there won’t be negative repercussions given FIA’s verdict. “Nothing changes to me, everything is under control”, said earlier Alonso. The Spanish driver kept all of his points and can still fight for Drivers’ Championship.

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