Swiss bank UBS to become global partner with Formula 1

The Formula One group, which runs the commercial side of the sport, has announced that the Swiss financial institution UBS is to become a Global Partner of the sport. UBS said it conducted a detailed evaluation of global sponsorship properties before deciding that F1 offered the best opportunity for global reach and brand awareness.

The deal will formally kick-off at a launch at the Singapore Grand Prix at the end of September.

UBS Group Chief Executive, Oswald Grubel, said, "UBS has been searching for a global sponsorship platform that has appeal to our clients, promotes our brand globally and makes good commercial sense. Our new partnership with one of the largest and most popular sporting organizations in the world will fulfill all these criteria, and it constitutes a key element of our newly launched branding activities. The global reach of F1 complements the many local activities we support."

Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone said, "UBS is a global company where performance, teamwork and superior execution are integral to their clients' success. These values complement those of Formula 1 and I'm delighted to welcome UBS to Formula 1."

In recent years the image of UBS has suffered after heavy losses in the subprime crisis and the company had to raise large amounts of outside capital - the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation remains UBS's largest shareholder.

UBS was also hit by an embarrassing case with the US government in which the company marketed services to help wealthy Americans evade taxes through the use of offshore accounts. The company settled in February 2009, paying a $780m fine.

UBS's involvement in Formula 1 follows other financial companies that have flocked to the sport in recent years, successfully increasing their brand awareness, including HSBC, ING and Santander. Longtime BMW Sauber sponsor Credit Suisse, UBS's main rival, pulled out of the sport last year.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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