It's a sign of the times that even the banks don't have money. With everyone hurting in this economic climate, several large banking groups have been prompted to cancel their sponsorship activities in Formula One. Credit Suisse announced it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the BMW Sauber team
for this season. Dutch banking giant ING, which invested heavily
– some 50 million Euros (about $63M USD), according to some estimates – in the Renault team
, trackside advertising
and title sponsorship of several grands prix races, has now announced it will not renew its contract with the French team after this season and that it is withdrawing entirely from the sport. Sources are also predicting that with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in such serious financial difficulty that it required a British government bail-out, that it is also likely to terminate its sponsorship of the Williams team.
The end of banking money in F1 will likely put a bigger squeeze on the sport's efforts to reduce costs, but like the fall-out from when Big Tobacco pulled out of Formula One, another industry will eventually emerge to take the place of the big banks. Our money would be on haberdasheries, but let's face it – we don't have any money, either.