Santander sticks with McLaren amid sponsorship exodus

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Sponsors have been leaving McLaren one after the other as the team's performance has dropped off drastically over the past few seasons. But Santander is sticking with it for another few years.

The banking group first teamed with McLaren in 2007. It started sponsoring Ferrari in 2009 and originally planned to drop McLaren, but ended up sticking with – and continues sponsoring – both teams today. Under the renewed contract, Santander will continue supporting both the British team and its driver Jenson Button for another five years, through the end of 2020.

The news was undoubtedly welcomed in Woking amid the exodus of several other sponsors. Former title sponsor Vodafone left before the start of last season. Longtime sponsor TAG Heuer is leaving for Red Bull. After more than three decades with McLaren, Hugo Boss switched to Mercedes earlier this year. And Johnnie Walker is expected to leave as well to join Aston Martin over at Force India.

McLaren did pick up sponsorship from CNN, which previously backed Caterham prior to the team folding. It also recently signed the Chandon champagne brand and extended its deal with Hilton hotels. Other partners include oil giant ExxonMobil, business technology leader SAP, multinational accounting firm KPMG, and Segafredo coffee.

Once a championship frontrunner with eight constructors' championships, 12 drivers' titles, and 182 grand prix victories to its name, McLaren has dropped off drastically in its performance over the past few seasons. It finished the 2011 season in second place, 2012 in third, 2013 and '14 in fifth, and this past season in ninth. Much of that drop in performance can be attributed to teething problems with the new Honda engine package. But without a title sponsor for two seasons now and with many others leaving, McLaren might find itself without the resources it needs to rediscover its former winning form.
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McLaren-Honda and Jenson Button renew partnership with Santander

McLaren-Honda is pleased to announce the extension of its partnership with leading bank Santander UK plc.

The agreement is set to continue the partnership for a further five years until the end of 2020, with British driver and 2009 F1™ World Champion, Jenson Button, continuing to feature prominently in Santander campaigns.

Having first partnered together in 2007, McLaren-Honda and Santander have enjoyed a long and successful relationship. Since then, McLaren-Honda and Jenson Button have appeared in many of Santander's campaigns, including a number of TV adverts, the launch of Santander's vision for a London Grand Prix in 2012, 'Secret Santa' customer surprises and, most recently, the 'Summer of Cycling' events on Santander Cycles across London.

McLaren has played an important role in helping establish and grow the Santander brand in the UK, where it is now a household name and has become the nation's most switched-to bank, attracting one in four new retail customers.

Ekrem Sami, managing director of McLaren Marketing, said: "Santander and McLaren-Honda have enjoyed an incredibly strong and mutually beneficial relationship since 2007. Our renewed partnership demonstrates a well-founded belief in the team's ability to successfully activate brands around a shared, common vision for the future. I look forward to developing the relationship and hope to see it continue to go from strength to strength for both brands."

Keith Moor, chief marketing officer for Santander UK, added: "Our sponsorship of McLaren and Jenson Button has played an important role in helping Santander build a strong awareness across the UK, helping to establish ourselves as a scale challenger to the 'Big 4' banks with the 1I2I3 Current Account and, more recently, support our launch of the Santander Cycles scheme in London."

Jenson Button, McLaren-Honda driver, said: "I'm really pleased to continue working with Santander, as is everyone at McLaren-Honda. We've enjoyed a great partnership to date and I look forward to that continuing. While first and foremost I'm a racing driver, I'm also a passionate cyclist, and so I'm looking forward to doing more with Santander Cycles and helping encourage more people to get involved."

McLaren-Honda enjoys multiple long-term partnerships with a number of globally-renowned brands, including ExxonMobil, KPMG, CNN, GSK, SAP and AkzoNobel. It has recently announced the extension of its partnership with Hilton Worldwide, and the addition of a new partner to its portfolio in Chandon, the sparkling wine brand within the Moët Hennessy Group.

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