Ferrari’s little strategic error last weekend may have cost Fernando Alonso his shot at the drivers’ title, but the team’s sponsors are still laughing all the way to the bank – so to speak.
Banco Santander, the multinational financial group which sponsors both Ferrari and McLaren (although in the latter team its branding appears only on the drivers’ overalls), has released figures from the Media Sports Marketing and Havas Sport consultants estimating the bank’s return on investment (ROI) from its F1 sponsorships at €270million in 2010, up from a previous estimate of €250million.
The bank also takes title sponsorship of the British, German and Italian Grands Prix.
Meanwhile, back in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala – an investment company run by one of the members of the royal family – is selling its five per cent stake in Ferrari back to the FIAT group. Mubadala reportedly paid €114million in 2005 for the stake, originally held by the Italian bank Mediobanca. The figure mooted for the current sale is €122million, which is a tidy sum given the travails of the automotive industry in recent years. The sale has come about because FIAT exercised an option to buy back the shares – an option it has deferred several times.
Mubadala is part of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to diversify away from fossil fuels and into tourism and technology by making key investments. We can expect to see the name return before long – indeed, the rumour mill is already linking it to a possible acquisition of the Formula One Group from CVC Capital Partners. That may be a little far-fetched, though…