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Hugo Boss to switch F1 backing from McLaren to Mercedes

German fashion brand Hugo Boss is set to end its long-running association with Formula One team McLaren in favour of switching its sponsorship to rival outfit Mercedes.

McLaren and Hugo Boss have partnered since 1981, with German automotive giant Mercedes acting as the British team’s engine providers in 1995. This agreement is set to expire at the end of this season when McLaren commences a new relationship with Honda.

While not a major sponsor, Hugo Boss has provided McLaren with team apparel and has played a key role in forging the team’s identity through fashion shoots. “Hugo Boss has recently decided to co-operate with Mercedes-Benz on a number of international marketing projects unrelated to F1,” a McLaren team spokesman said, according to the Reuters news agency.

“That being the case, it would be inappropriate for Hugo Boss to continue in partnership with an F1 competitor to Mercedes-Benz, however successful that partnership has been in the past and remains now.”

McLaren is still searching for a new title sponsor after parting ways with telecommunications group Vodafone at the end of the 2013 season – a move that was initially announced in March 2013.

McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier said a title sponsorship has yet to be finalised but stressed that the team was well funded.

“We are not in a position where we are struggling to get money, we are perfectly fine,” Boullier said. “Obviously with Honda coming on board even more so.”