RBS to pull out of F1 in 2010

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it is to pull out of Formula One, but only when its current deal with Williams finishes at the end of 2010

RBS to pull out of F1 in 2010

The finance company, which has made huge losses in the credit crunch, has decided to end its involvement with grand prix racing as part of a wider strategic view about its sponsorship in sport.

The company first backed Williams in 2005 and signed for a second three-year term in 2007. The deal will conclude at the end of 2010.

Williams chief Frank Williams said: "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.

"RBS is showing great responsibility to the role that we play in the British economy,
supporting over 500 highly skilled technology jobs in a sector in which Britain leads the world. In the last three years, Williams has spent over £100 million with 2700 UK suppliers and it is of course important that this business endures."

Andrew McLaughlin, RBS group director, Communications, added: "We recognise 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.

"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."

RBS's announcement comes just a few weeks after Dutch finance company ING announced it was to pull out of F1 at the end of this year because of the financial difficulties worldwide.

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