ING to review F1 sponsorship

Dutch bank ING is to review its sponsorship of F1 in the coming year, the International Herald Tribune reports. The bank, which like so many of its competitors is suffering as a result of inclement global economic conditions, is currently title sponsor of Renault and supports a number of grands prix including the Australian event.

The financial group, which has already had a bail-out from the Dutch government, has just registered a multi-billion dollar loss in the second consecutive quarter, said the financial news service Bloomberg. Further reports suggest Renault backing is to be cut by 40%, with the group s trackside sponsorship also under threat.

The news underlines the precarious state of banking sponsorship in F1, with Williams sponsor RBS at the epicentre of the United Kingdom s financial crisis. BMW Sauber sponsor Credit Suisse withdrew from the sport in the last few months.

Reduced sponsorship is unlikely directly to affect teams performance, but it could make them more dependent on their manufacturers for money, which in turn could have a longer term effect, and more significant implications for their survival.