Spanish sponsors set to stay at McLaren

Fri, 2 November 2007, 02:41

Fernando Alonso’s departure from McLaren has blown a hole in the formula one driver market, but apparently not in the British team’s budget.

It was reported recently that, should the double world champion depart ahead of the 2008 season, boss Ron Dennis could also be facing an exodus of its Spanish sponsors.

Dennis told Spanish media recently that all of McLaren’s contracts with Spanish backers “make no reference” to specific drivers.

He nonetheless travelled recently to Spain, and according to local newspapers dined and played golf with Emilio Botin, the boss of McLaren’s biggest Spanish sponsor Santander, a banking group.

Another McLaren backer, the Madrid based insurance company Mutua Madrilena, had followed Alonso from Renault to McLaren at the end of the year, signing a long term contract estimated at $8m per year.

Through quotes attributed to Alonso and Dennis, McLaren on Friday suggested that while the Spanish driver is departing, the sponsors are staying put.

“I wish the team, Vodafone, Banco Santander, Mutua Madrilena and all the other team Partners who I have worked closely with during the year, the best for the future,” the statement quoted Alonso as saying.

Dennis added: “Everybody at McLaren Mercedes, especially McLaren’s Spanish Partners Banco Santander and Mutua Madrilena and the team’s title partner Vodafone, want to wish Fernando all the best for the future.”

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