Sports News

Motor racing-Renault sponsor ING to cut back on F1 spending

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Renault’s title sponsor ING will cut back on their Formula One programme after taking a 1 billion euro ($1.31 billion) loss in 2008, the Dutch financial group said on Monday.

“ING will cut operating expenses by 1 billion euros in 2009,” the Amsterdam-based insurance and banking group said in a statement.

“Of the cutback, 35 percent will come from a reduction of the workforce by approximately 7,000 full-time positions in 2009. The remainder of the expense reduction comes from decreasing costs for our head office, marketing, the Formula One programme, consultancy, third-party staff and the renegotiating of certain contracts with IT-vendors.”

As well as backing former world champions Renault for the past two seasons, ING are heavily involved in trackside advertising.

They are the official sponsors of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne as well as those in Belgium, Hungary and Turkey.

They also had on-track branding at 13 of last season’s 18 races.

The Renault team, run by Italian Flavio Briatore, won Formula One titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 and are hoping to return to the top with the Spaniard and Brazilian Nelson Piquet this season.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Miles Evans