Scuderia Ferrari could be about to announce a ‘new’ major sponsor for the 2018 Formula One season, as recently, the Spanish bank Santander announced that it is leaving the Maranello team and Formula One, after seven years as a headline sponsor. The move sees Santander absent from Formula 1 for the first time since 2006, having sponsored McLaren from Fernando Alonso’s arrival in 2007, with Jenson Button bringing minor UK branch backing until the end of 2014. Fernando Alonso’s switch to Scuderia Ferrari back in 2010 saw the bank follow suit.
Santander have also acted as head sponsor for eight British Grand Prix between 2007 and 2014 and three Spanish Grand Prix, from 2011 to 2013. The decision comes in tandem with the announcement that they are to take over from Italian bank UniCredit as a UEFA Champions League sponsor as of the 2018/19 season in an initial three-year deal, having already entered the football market through Spain’s top flight La Liga and South America’s Champions League equivalent, the Copa Libertadores.
The Spanish newspaper ABC now reports that the signage on the rear wing of the Ferrari car could be replaced for 2018 with a brand called IQOS. According to ‘invisible’ Ferrari sponsor Philip Morris, Iqos is a high-tech technology device that heats rather than burns tobacco, releasing a ‘nicotine-containing vapour’ for the user: “Ferrari is finalising the agreement with Iqos about replacing the agreement with Santander,” ABC recently claimed – “For the moment it is not clear if Iqos would contravene F1’s strict ban on tobacco advertising.”