RBS Confirm F1 Quit in 2010

The Royal Bank of Scotland have announced their withdrawal from the sport at the end of 2010. The British banking group are determined to respect their initial sponsorship agreement with Williams F1 – with whom they have 2 more years of contract – after which they'll officially end their involvement in grand prix racing.

The news came via an official statement from the RBS. The group has been official sponsor of Frank Williams' team since 2005. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the reasons behind the pullout, as the RBS has been heavily affected by the economic recession in recent months. In 2009, RBS will cut their sponsorship programme inside F1 by almost 25 percent, while the next season will see a further 50-percent decrease. Also in 2010, RBS will cancel all trackside advertising in F1.

“We recognize that we are now operating in a very different economic environment and have been reviewing all of our activities since October. It is imperative that we respond to the reality of the situation we face and that we do so in an orderly way that respects the commercial agreements we have in place and the implications for our partners and the jobs they support,” said Andrew McLaughlin, RBS group director, Communications.

“Throughout our relationship, Williams have shown great understanding and innovation in driving the programme forwards. They have been very supportive in finding ways to reduce costs over the remainder of our contract. This early announcement allows Sir Frank Williams and his team to plan ahead financially,” added McLaughlin.

“RBS has been a great partner for this team and we are pleased to have made our contribution over the past four years to developing the RBS brand internationally. Thanks to the support of RBS and our many other loyal partners, we are in a strong position to ride out the inevitable challenges of the next two years,” added team principal Frank Williams, who'll not have to years to find a major financial backer for his F1 team.

RBS is the second major banking group to have officially announced pullout from the sport of Formula 1. Netherlands' ING Group have recently confirmed their withdrawal from F1 at the end of this year, also because of financial difficulties. In addition, Swiss banking group Credit Suisse is also believed to reconsider their position in the sport in the upcoming months.
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