HSBC say Jaguar sponsorship has served its purpose

LONDON: Jaguar sponsor HSBC said on Friday they was unhappy with the Formula One team's performance and the deal had probably served its purpose in building the global bank's brand. 

“I share your disappointment with the performance of the team, as I relay regularly to Ford and Jaguar,” HSBC Chairman Sir John Bond told a shareholder at the bank's annual meeting.  

“We did it to raise our profile (globally)... I think it has probably served its purpose,” Bond said. 

“We are committed until the end of this season and will make an announcement at the appropriate time.” 

Jaguar have just one point from six races so far this season and their highly-rated leading driver, Australian Mark Webber, is tipped for a move to Williams or Renault. 

Any loss of sponsorship would be a blow for a team that need every penny to compete against bigger budget rivals. 

Austrian rookie driver Christian Klien has yet to finish higher than 10th and last Sunday crashed in the Monaco Grand Prix, losing a US$200,000 diamond that had been embedded in the nose of the car as part of a sponsorship deal. 

Bond joked that he was particularly unhappy at the loss of the diamond. 

An HSBC spokeswoman declined to give the value of the deal, but the bank's previous chairman said in 1996 it would pay £5mil (US$9mil) a year for eight years to sponsor the Stewart team, which Ford bought in 1999 and renamed Jaguar. 

Jaguar team spokesman Nav Sidhu said HSBC was not alone in feeling disappointed but there was still plenty that could happen to turn the situation around. 

“We are all disappointed with the performance of the team thus far,” he said.  

“But the season is not finished yet and we do have a significantly better package than last year. 

“Jaguar and the sponsors are committed to ending the season with more than respectability in mind.” – Reuters 

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