Santander could stay at McLaren

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. McLaren on Monday confirmed that Santander will remain a sponsor of the British team in 2010, despite the Spanish bank's high profile new deal with Ferrari.

It had been expected that Santander's switch to Ferrari with a major five-year deal beginning next year would mean the bank will be no longer associated with McLaren.

But in a media statement, McLaren said Santander branding will be featured "on all four (team) drivers" next year.

No mention was made of actual car branding, with the logo this year on the rearward-facing elements of the rear wing.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh suggested he has no problem with Santander also sponsoring Ferrari.

"We are very proud of our relationship with Santander and to be part of their ever-expanding formula one involvement. We welcome, and wish them well with … their other activities," said the Briton.

09/13/09 (GMM) Santander could remain a sponsor of the McLaren team next year despite the Spanish bank's high profile new deal with arch rivals Ferrari.

The rumors first emerged on Thursday, when Santander CEO Emilio Botin was asked at Monza about the expiring McLaren deal and he replied that it had contributed markedly to the company's profile in Britain.

It is also suggested that Lewis Hamilton, McLaren's lead driver, is to be sponsored by Abbey, the British arm of Santander with an identical logo, in a deal to be announced in the coming days.

It would not be the first time that McLaren and Ferrari have shared a sponsor. In the 90s, both outfits enjoyed backing by the cigarette brand Marlboro.

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