Honda F1 website

AUGUST 27, 2006

Banesto and McLaren

There are rumours in F1 circles that McLaren has agreed a major sponsorship deal, worth around $20m a year, with Spain's Banesto. The bank is owned by Grupo Santander and currently has 1700 branches in Spain, although there are plans to increase this number to 2000 by 2009. Banesto is best known outside Spain as the sponsor of the bicycle racing team which took Miguel Indurain to five consecutive Tour de France victories between 1991 and 1995, enjoying the association with one of Spain's top sportsmen. It is thought that a deal with McLaren, if confirmed, will be based on the same premise as Fernando Alonso is now the biggest sporting star in Spain.

Until the middle of last year Grupo Santander had shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland but the two banks are now competing openly and it may be that the Spanish bank wants to use F1 as RBS is doing with Williams.