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MAY 2, 2007

RBS nails down a new Williams deal

The Royal Bank of Scotland came into Formula 1 at the start of 2005 as a sponsor of the Williams team. That three-year deal did not result in huge success on the race tracks but the Scottish bank was more than happy with the results of the sponsorship and has now agreed to a three-year extension to the deal.

There has been speculation that the deal is worth only $14m a year but our sources suggest that the number is rather higher as Williams has become a much more desirable location for sponsors in recent months as the team's performance has improved after a poor 2006 season.

The announcement of the sponsorship included a photograph of royal family member Zara Phillips, who is also sponsored by RBS, jumping a horse over a Williams F1 car. With her brother Peter, a former Williams marketing man, now in charge of RBS sponsorships, the photo is not really a surprise.

Phillips is the current European and World Champion in eventing and recently received an MBE for her achievements. She was also voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.