Renault will be forced to find a new title sponsor for 2010 after banking giants ING announced on Monday morning that it is pulling out of Formula One at the end of the season.
ING recently announced a major cost-cutting programme because of the losses it has occurred in the current economic crisis. It is to scale back its investment in F1, through trackside advertising and event sponsorship, by 40 percent.
However, with a view to save even more money, ING has decided not to renew its title-sponsorship deal with Renault beyond the end of this year and cease all other involvement in F1.
A statement issued by ING said: "In light of the recently announced cost reduction programme, ING confirmed today not to renew the three year sponsorship (2007-2009) contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in F1 beyond the 2009 season.
"ING's participation in Formula One was the company's first global sponsorship project aimed at delivering revenue and raising the global brand awareness, particularly in ING's key growth markets. Over the past two years, ING has successfully achieved its objectives for the F1 sponsorship, raising its overall global brand awareness by 16% (March 07 vs November 08).
"F1 remains a powerful business driver even in a difficult economic climate. Whilst ING has cut the F1 sponsorship costs by 40% in the final year, revenue generating opportunities will be a continuing focus through 2009. ING has enjoyed the relationship with Renault F1 and will continue to work closely with the team during the final year of the partnership."