Formula 1 has lost a major blue-chip sponsor as Spanish-based financial giant Banco Santander confirmed it will end its agreement with Ferrari after eight seasons.
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The announcement came in a statement announcing a new three-year partnership with the UEFA competition.
“At the end of this year, Santander will conclude its successful sponsorship of the Formula One racing team, Scuderia Ferrari, which it has supported for the last eight seasons,” it said.
“The bank will also conclude its corporate sponsorship agreements with F1 which have helped increase Santander’s brand recognition around the world over the last 11 years.”
Ferrari finished runner-up in this year’s Formula One championship.
Santander’s sponsorship of Formula One’s oldest and most successful team coincided with the arrival there in 2010 of Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso, who has been at McLaren for the past three years.
Juan Manuel Cendoya, head of marketing and communication at Santander, has said on various occasions that the investment in Ferrari has been money well spent, claiming the return was higher than the marketing spend. Formula One has a global audience of about 400 million.
Santander has an annual marketing budget of €450m, much of it going to the Spanish football league and Latin American football’s Copa Libertadores.