DECEMBER 14, 2005

Why Vodafone chose McLaren over Ferrari

The news that Vodafone has signed a long-term title sponsorship deal with McLaren, starting in 2007, came as a surprise in F1 circles. It was widely know that Vodafone was not entirely happy in its relationship with Ferrari but all the signs were that a deal was in the wind with Honda. At the same time, McLaren was thought to be close to a deal with Intel.

"We were very close to a deal with Intel," Dennis confirmed, "but this thing was not done overnight. It came after a three-year dialogue. I'm very excited. It is a very good fit."

Vodafone's Peter Bamford said that Vodafone wanted to stay in F1 beyond the current deal with Ferrari, which runs out at the end of 2006. He said that the involvement with Ferrari had created "a measurable effect" on the Vodafone brand and added that "we need the global platform that F1 offers". The problem, according to Bamford, was that Ferrari could not offer the same kind of deal as McLaren. The financial investment is believed to be around the same but Vodafone will be the title sponsor at McLaren.

"Ferrari is very shaped and established," he said. "The title sponsorship was very important to us and we wanted to be associated with winning and with leading edge technology, but we also wanted an alignment in terms of culture and values. This is very important to us and to McLaren. This is an outstandingly good partnership to take us to the next phase in developing the brand. We fit very well with McLaren."