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Williams confident over RBS replacement

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Frank Williams is confident that his team will be able to secure a “pretty big” company to replace the Royal Bank of Scotland when its major sponsorship deal with the bank expires at the end of the season.

RBS announced in February 2009 that as part of its attempts to cut its sponsorship outlay in half by this year after it was part nationalised amid the global financial crisis it would be pulling out of Formula 1 when its existing deal with Williams came to an end.

Williams, whose team is enjoying a promising second half of the season on track after a difficult start to the campaign, says his squad is in talks with a number of companies and is optimistic it will be able to secure another strong deal.

“Very slow, but very busy,” he told reporters at Spa when asked about how Williams was progressing in its attempts to replace RBS.

“I wouldn’t say there are an enormous number of leads, but there’s a lot of talking going on between us and various companies.

“I think we will land something pretty big despite the difficulties.”

Since the onset of the global banking crisis Formula 1 teams as a whole have generally struggled to entice new sponsors into the sport, with last year’s world championship-winning Brawn car and this year’s Sauber both featuring plenty of white space.

However, Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management last week signed up Swiss bank UBS as a global partner for the sport, bucking the trend which had seen financial institutions pulling out over recent years.

Williams says the UBS deal has acted as a great fillip to his own team’s sponsor search.

“I think it’s fantastic news,” he said.

“It’s making our job easier.”ITV-F1

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