McLaren-Honda has secured a ten-year agreement with French watchmaker Richard Mille to be a new sponsor of the team.
The company will replace the team’s former watch partner TAG Heuer, which parted ways with the Woking outfit after a 30-year partnership to join Red Bull Racing and take over the naming rights to that team’s Renault engines.
“A 10-year partnership with McLaren underlines our shared belief in the value of long-term agreements, and the benefits that can be derived from growing and developing together,” McLaren chairman Ron Dennis said.
“The two brands share a distinct common DNA: a passion for design, technology and aesthetics, and I’m excited about the great work we can achieve together over the next 10 years.”
Richard Mille is no stranger to Formula 1, having previously partnered with the Lotus F1 Team and also personally sponsored the likes of Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and the late Jules Bianchi.
The company also sponsored the ART Grand Prix GP2 Series team, which romped to last year’s championship title at the hands of McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
The announcement is welcome news for McLaren, which has a worrying exodus of long-time sponsors in recent years as its competitiveness has waned. The team is yet to find a title sponsor in the wake of Vodafone’s departure at the end of 2013, compounded by Ron Dennis’ well-documented refusal to meet the market and accept lower figures being offered by major bidders.
On top of Vodafone and TAG Heuer’s departure, the team felt the further losses of long-time clothing partner Hugo Boss and drinks giant Johnnie Walker, as well as a significant downsizing in its agreement with the Spanish bank Santander. New deals with Hennessy Chandon and an expanded deal with Hilton have done little to stop the bleeding.
Image via McLaren Media Centre
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