Two-time world champ and Ferrari newbie Fernando Alonso has struck a new one-year personal sponsorship deal with the insurance arm of the Spanish financial giant Santander. The banking division of Spanish company has existing agreements in place with both Ferrari as a team, and Alonso individually. In addition, Santander continues to be a secondary sponsor for McLaren.
As a symbolic gesture, Santander has provided Alonso with new life and accident insurance policies. The accident insurance has an interesting provision: Alonso’s thumbs will be insured for 10 million euros.
The new deal was announced at a press conference in Madrid, where a company spokesman said, “Alonso’s thumbs are a big symbol as, apart from being essential when driving a Formula 1 car, they represent a sign of victory and that everything is under control and well protected.”
Alonso is known for performing impromptu pantomimes in parc ferme following his race wins, his poses often involving secret hand gestures, animal imitations or interpretive dance steps. Perhaps his thumbs are seen as essential to his poses, and he wishes to be compensated should they be impaired. On the other hand, perhaps Santander’s insurance group is testing new types of sports policies, which would provide special coverage for certain parts of athlete’s anatomies.
If so, can performance-based insurance be far behind? It’s entirely plausible that a driver who under-performs might insure himself against termination by his team. Kimi Raikkonen got 18 million euros when he was bounced from Ferrari, so termination coverage would have been superfluous in his case. Nelson Piquet Jr, on the other hand, might have benefited from such a policy. Whether or not collusion to fix a race by deliberately crashing would constitute a violation of the terms of such a policy is another matter.
Image by f1photos.org, licensed through Creative Commons.