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Global crisis hits Renault team

Fernando Alonso test the 2009 Renault
Renault's R29 for the 2009 season prominently carries sponsor ING's logo

Renault has become the latest Formula One team to be hit by the economic crisis after their main sponsor ING withdrew its support from 2010.

The Dutch financial services company decided to end its involvement in F1 in order to cut costs.

"ING has been an enthusiastic partner," said Renault boss Flavio Briatore.

"But we have been aware for some time that the world's current financial climate was calling for a restructure of our sport."

ING announced last month that it needs to to lose 7,000 jobs to save 949m.

"In light of the recently announced cost reduction programme, ING confirmed not to renew the three-year sponsorship (2007-2009) contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in F1 beyond the 2009 season," the company said in a statement.

"F1 remains a powerful business driver even in a difficult economic climate.

"ING has enjoyed the relationship with Renault F1 and will continue to work closely with the team during the final year of the partnership."

606: DEBATE

Despite the loss of ING's key investment, Briatore remained optimistic about Renault's future in F1.

"Drastic cost reductions have been on the Formula One Teams' Association's (Fota) agenda as one of the first priorities.

"With the ongoing programme of measures we are confident we can guarantee a solid future for our team and for F1."

Last month, BMW Sauber also lost one of their main backers when Credit Suisse opted not to renew their deal.

The impact of the global credit crunch claimed its biggest F1 victim at the end of last year when Japanese car manufacturer Honda withdrew its team with immediate effect.

A buyer for the team, which spent more than 300m a year, has yet to be found ahead of season-opening Grand Prix in Australia on 29 March.

In light of the global economic downturn, the teams and governing body, the FIA, agreed a raft of measures in December which aimed to cut team budgets by at least 30%.

But FIA president Max Mosley has urged Fota to reduce costs further and has set the teams a target of operating on about 50m Euros (44m) a year in 2010.

Currently, the richest teams are spending as much as six or seven times that amount.

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see also
ING to shed 7,000 jobs this year
26 Jan 09 |  Business
Alonso upbeat over Renault hopes
19 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Focused Alonso sets sights on title
20 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Formula 1 teams unveil 2009 cars
09 Feb 09 |  Formula One
BMW Sauber lose sponsorship deal
19 Jan 09 |  Formula One
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One


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