Spanish banking giants Santander have ended their partnership with Scuderia Ferrari after seven years as a headline sponsor.
The move sees Santander absent from Formula 1 for the first time since 2006, having sponsored McLaren from Fernando Alonso’s arrival in 2007, with Jenson Button bringing minor UK branch backing until the end of 2014.
Alonso’s switch to Ferrari in 2010 saw the bank follow suit.
Santander have also acted as head sponsor for eight British Grand Prix between 2007 and 2014 and three Spanish Grand Prix, from 2011 to 2013.
The decision comes in tandem with the announcement that they are to take over from Italian bank UniCredit as a UEFA Champions League sponsor as of the 2018/19 season in an initial three-year deal, having already entered the football market through Spain’s top flight La Liga and South America’s Champions League equivalent, the Copa Libertadores.
In a statement made last week, Santander confirmed that they “will conclude its successful sponsorship of the Formula 1 racing team, Scuderia Ferrari, which it has supported for the last eight seasons.”
The move also means that they will withdraw all corporate agreements with the sport, a big loss to the sport’s owners Liberty Media.
“The bank will also conclude its corporate sponsorship agreements with F1 which have helped increase Santander’s brand recognition around the world over the last 11 years.”
It is not yet clear if the change will spark a major modification to the Ferrari’s predominantly red and white livery, with the long-standing partnership with Philip Morris International still active.