Dutch financial giant ING is investing heavily in F1 to promote its banking services with the same fast-paced, cutting-edge, dynamic image sought after by every F1 sponsor. However, unlike other companies that start small, ING aims to make a splash that no spectator could miss. There are a number of ways companies can get their name into grand prix racing, and it seems ING has checked all the boxes.
For starters, ING will be the new title sponsor of the reigning world champs Renault, replacing outgoing tobacco company Mild Seven as the French team's principal patron for the next three seasons (at least). That title sponsorship cost Japan Tobacco $60 million for 2006, a sum which was likely exceeded in ING's deal given Renault's back-to-back world titles.
Not enough? ING will also be the title sponsor at the Australian Grand Prix next season, replacing Foster's beer for the next three years. As with the Renault sponsorship, the Melbourne deal will put the bank's moniker in the name of the race: 2007 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix. ING was also rumored to be assuming title sponsorship of the Belgian Grand Prix – the closest race to its home base – to the same effect as its Australian sponsorship, but ING has dismissed this as pure speculation.
Still not enough? The Dutch bankers have also confirmed that they'll be advertising track-side at no less than twelve grands prix next season, including Australia and Belgium plus Malaysia, Spain, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, China and Japan. That means we'll be seeing the world's top drivers whizzing by the ING lion at more races next year than not.
Now there's corporate presence you can take to the bank.
[Sources: GrandPrix.com and F1i.com]