Ferrari broke silence on one of Formula One’s worst kept secrets at Monza, announcing that the Spanish banking giant Santander would take title sponsorship of the team for five years from 2010.
Santander president Emilio Botin refused to comment on the value of the deal, or whether Santander would retain a presence on McLaren.
It has been rumoured that the bank, which plans to unite its three British high street brands under the Santander name in 2010, wished to maintain a visible link with Lewis Hamilton.
“I am here today just to speak about Ferrari,” he said.
Formula One’s other worst kept secret – Fernando Alonso’s move from Renault to Ferrari, displacing Kimi Raikkonen – also remains the subject of rumour for now.
Widely expected to be announced today, the deal appears to be on hold pending the outcome of the FIA’s investigation into last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.
In a crowded and occasionally tense Renault press conference today, a visibly uncomfortable Alonso endured a torrent of questions about how the Singapore situation will affect his future, ending with a potentially significant slip.
“There will be no change,” he said.
“Even if Renault aren’t in F1 next year?”