Sponsors jump ship from Renault

ING and Mutua Madrilena have curtailed their sponsorship deals with scandal-hit Formula One team Renault.

The team has been handed a suspended disqualification from F1 over the plot involving team principal Flavio Briatore, executive director of engineering Pat Symonds and driver Nelson Piquet Jnr to cause a crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

All three individuals implicated in the scandal have since left Renault, but the changes have arrived too late to save two of the team’s key sponsorships.

ING, Renault’s principal sponsor, confirmed earlier this year that it would not be extending its backing beyond the 2009 season.

However, in the wake of the World Motor Sport Council’s verdict on the case on Monday, the Dutch financial group announced earlier today that it had opted to terminate the contract “with immediate effect”.

A statement from the group added: “ING is deeply disappointed at this turn of events, especially in the context of an otherwise successful sponsorship.”

Earlier today, Spanish insurance firm Mutua Madrilena announced it would end its backing due to the “substantial breach” of F1 rules by Renault.

“The behaviour of the relevant people in the team was extraordinarily serious and compromised not only the integrity of the sport, but also the lives of spectators, drivers and circuit personnel,” read a statement from Mutua Madrilena.

“This is something that can affect the image, reputation and good name of the team’s sponsors.”

Mutua Madrilena added, though, that it will continue to back Renault driver Fernando Alonso, fuelling rumours that the Spanish ace could be about to switch to Ferrari.

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