Vodafone to pull plug on F1 sponsorship

British mobile operator Vodafone is set to end its long-running sponsorship of the Formula One team McLaren following a review of marketing strategy, The Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a Vodafone spokesman who confirmed the decision.

The Financial Times reported that Vodafone has paid as much as $75 million every year as part of its deal with McLaren, which it struck in 2007.

Vodafone said its decision was not made on price and that it expected to divert a similar amount into a new global branding strategy, said the newspaper, citing a Vodafone spokesman.

Vodafone will create its own marketing platform that will sponsor local events more directly rather than partner with other brands and events, it said.

In 2008 the company pulled the plug on its sponsorship of the English cricket team. Vodafone could not be reached outside office hours. (Reuters)