The Spanish bank Santander will not renew its Formula One sponsorship of the Ferrari at the end of this year, according to reports, after spending seven years and €280m (£250m) backing the sport’s most illustrious team.
The bank became Ferrari’s primary sponsor in 2010 when the Spanish driver Fernando Alonso joined the team and Santander was still run by Emilio Botín, a Formula One enthusiast.
Alonso, a two-times world champion with Renault, never found winning form with Ferrari and left at the end of the 2014 season. By then, the Italians had developed a more competitive car but have not won a championship since 2007.
According to a report on the news site El Confidencial, Santander, now run by Botín’s daughter Ana, has turned down Ferrari’s request to renew the deal, valued at €40m, although it may choose to continue as a secondary sponsor.
Juan Manuel Cendoya, head of marketing and communication at Santander, has said on various occasions that the investment in Ferrari had been money well spent, claiming the return was higher than the marketing spend. Formula One has a global audience of about 400 million.
Santander has an annual marketing budget of €450m, much of it going to the Spanish football league and Latin American football’s Copa Libertadores.