Spanish sponsor quits McLaren for 2008

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Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother writing a separate post about a sponsor leaving a team, such as today’s news Spanish insurance group Mutua Madrilena are leaving McLaren before the 2008 season. According to Autosport:

Mutua Madrilena said in a statement that its decision to leave McLaren was not linked with Alonso’s exit and that they had already decided on the move back in November.

Mutua Madrilena followed Alonso from Renault to McLaren at the beginning of this season. And Fernando Alonso’s departure from McLaren was announced on the second of November this year. Who do they think they’re kidding? (Links below)

More on Fernando Alonso and McLaren

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Spanish sponsor quits McLaren for 2008”

  1. It was known in Spain that Mutua was not happy with the treatment of Mclaren to Alonso. Mclaren is not very popular in Spain since time ago, before the exit of Alonso, the exact moment happened in Hungary.

  2. Perhaps this is a stupid question, but what exactly were they unhappy about with McLaren? Yes Hamilton didn’t do as he was told, but that was his decision, not McLaren’s. In fact, he specifically went against a McLaren order.

    And it’s not as if McLaren punished Alonso, it was the race stewards.

    I could understand them being angry with Hamilton, but not McLaren. They did try to defend Alonso in the stewards’ inquiry.

  3. Captain Caveman
    13th December 2007, 17:33

    My take to the above is that Much like the way the british took a dislike to Alonso the same was prevalent within the spanish media towards that of hamilton. ( it sells papers). Anyway, the fact of the matter is that Hamilton and Maclaran are stronly aligned within the spanish mindset and from what I have read a simple commercial decision has been made…
    The only thing to really be aware of is that the sponsors are not in it for the sport but for maximum exposure within a positive light.
    One thing I read into this, is that of how it may affect pedro de la rosa. Does this mean his chances are now greatly reduced of becoming the 2nd driver? I suspect that it does.

  4. I think the problem was the perception in Spain about Mclaren having a lack of control about Hamilton. It was a strange thing within a team, to see Hamilton requesting a punish to Alonso.
    Mclaren tried to defend Alonso, but not having success it was expected that Mclaren would punish Hamilton, as the person that provoked the situation, that punishment did not happen or at least it is the perception in Spain, then it seemed as if Mclaren had a double speak, talking but not doing, and the people here was upset about it.
    The special relation of Hamilton and Dennis/Mclaren did that the people here would see a favoritism towards Hamilton, maybe a small reprimand for Hamilton would have helped to calm down the things.
    I understand what you mean, but from Spain the conduct of Mclaren was seen as a hoax.

  5. Well, I wont root for STR after the Scott Speed outing. Its not Dietrich Mateschitz’s fault but I wont drink a Red Bull….
    Nationality is a huge aspect of the sport that people take far too seriously.

  6. I think sponsors doesn’t feel any colour, nacionality or flag.

    Mutua is interested in sponsoring spanish sportman because its market is Spain. Banco Santander is not leaving Mclaren because last year bought an english bank and is interested in build an image in UK.

    In this companies there is no feeling but money. Quite simple.

  7. So is this a sign it will be Kovalainen and not de la Rosa in the second McLaren in 2008?

  8. Quite honestly, yes, Keith. One of the few things PDLR had going for him was the 2 Spanish sponsors (the other being his experience and tenure at McLaren – which too was tarnished by his role in Stepneygate).

    But with Mutua leaving and Santander not really caring too much as they do have a British bank (Abbey) (which means they can make a lot more use of Lewis), I think PDLR has just slipped back behind Heikki in the seat-stakes.

  9. The sposnor departure was to be expected and your question: “Who do they think they’re kidding?” is spot on …

    Re Heikki vs Pedro – I wonder how much truth there is in the reports saying that Hamilton is lobbying the team to sign Kovalainen…

  10. Looks like everybody got it ‘right’ !!!!!

  11. Santander have Abbey in the UK but also have much longer standing connections in Europe and Latin America. I think it foolish to believe that they are quite happy about Alonso leaving McLaren – Hamilton can advertise one bank in Britain but Alonso covered Spain (their main market) and is very popular in Spanish speaking Latin America. They made adverts featuring Alonso (and De La Rosa) for the spanish market which they can no longer use, which would have cost them and they are no doubt stressing out their marketing department on how to proceed next year as their plans featuring Alonso will have been shelved – so the loss of Alonso will have hurt them. I am sure that they have made this known to Ron Dennis!

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