Santander set to end McLaren sponsorship deal

Santander will pool its resources into just Ferrari in 2011, ending its deal with McLaren-Mercedes in the process.
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25

Santander is to transfer its full-backing to Ferrari in 2011, ending its four-year relationship with the McLaren-Mercedes team.

The Spanish banking giant entered F1 in 2007 as part of Fernando Alonso's ill-fated move to McLaren-Mercedes that year, but while the former champion switched to Renault at the end of the season, Santander stayed on board with the Woking-based team.

However, following Alonso's move to Ferrari in 2010, Santander chose to submit backing to both teams, even if the Scuderia received the more prominent branding.

Nonetheless, Santander has said it will back just Ferrari in 2011 as it begins the second of a five-year agreement that was signed in 2009.

"We have had a transition with McLaren and who knows if in the future we will keep on having a relationship with them and their drivers," spokesman Juan Manuel Cendoya told the Spanish press.

The move is unlikely to prove a significant blow for McLaren, which had already been reduced to using fairly minimal Santander branding this year, as it continues to receive substantial sponsorship from Vodafone.

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