One of the more iconic F1 liveries will remain in the sport for another three seasons after McLaren revealed that it had reached agreement with title sponsor Vodafone to extend their existing partnership through to the end of the 2013 campaign.
The relationship, which began in 2007 when Vodafone quit rival Ferrari in search of a title sponsor role, has proved hugely successful, in both sporting and marketing terms, with McLaren's unique chrome livery now one of the most widely-recognised colour schemes worldwide. Under the new agreement, Vodafone will remain as title partner and become the team's official communications partner, upgrading from a mere mobile communications role, as F1's enduring marketing appeal bucks a belt-tightening trend brought on by the downturn in the global economy.
“Vodafone is an international brand with strong local roots," Morten Lundal, the brand's chief commercial officer, explained, "As such, F1 is a strong platform from which we can engage our customers with unique experiences and events. We've had great success in using the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes partnership to engage our customers in our key markets, and we're committed to new and exciting platforms which will allow customers to get even closer to the action.”
Building on a successful partnership, the two parties will continue to focus on developing exciting new technologies, as well as involving Vodafone customers in a series of new marketing initiatives, bringing them closer to the sport through a range of services, events and experiences.
“The success that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has enjoyed since our two companies' partnership began in 2007 has been prodigious," former team principal, and current McLaren Group executive chairman, Ron Dennis commented, "Of the 68 grands prix that have been staged during our partnership, our drivers have scored 21 wins and 55 podium finishes.
“Going forward, I'm confident that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will build on and improve on our already impressive track record, delivering an ever more powerful return on investment for Vodafone, and proving once again what a formidable global marketing tool the sport of F1 remains.”
The extended relationship will also provide a boost to morale at McLaren as drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button attempt to claw their way back into the 2010 championship fight. The two drivers, who have claimed the past two world titles, dropped to fourth and fifth in the standings respectively after the recent Japanese Grand Prix, and are now ranked as outsiders for the crown with three races to run.
“Vodafone is without doubt the best title partner that we at McLaren have ever had," team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted, “Why do I say that? Well, the word 'partner' says it all. Vodafone is our partner in a very genuine sense of that word – a very real contributor to an ever-evolving series of high-tech innovations on our cars and within our operating systems.
“That's why I know I speak on behalf of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes when I say how delighted I am that our two companies have agreed not only to renew our partnership but also to relaunch it. As a result, we'll tirelessly develop our technological collaborations, at the same time as engaging Vodafone's customers in some truly innovative ways.
“I like to think that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the most inclusive team in the world's most exclusive sport and, with that ethos in mind, we'll be unveiling some very exciting Vodafone McLaren Mercedes marketing initiatives in the near future.”