Era ends as Williams terminate tie-up with major sponsor PDVSA

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado’s career at Williams was thanks to PDVSA backing

Williams will end their tie-up with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA at the close of the Formula One season after Pastor Maldonado’s departure from the team, deputy principal Claire Williams said on Monday.

“It (the branding) won’t be on the car for next year,” she told Reuters at the presentation of Brazilian Felipe Massa, currently with Ferrari, as Maldonado’s replacement on a multi-year deal.

“There is no (further) connection with PDVSA as obviously Pastor is now leaving the team.”

Maldonado has been backed by the oil giant throughout his career and his sponsorship millions have been eagerly sought by other teams. Williams said the driver had taken the decision to look elsewhere.

“We wish him well in that new challenge and we have to see where he ends up next year, but the Williams team won’t have a connection to Venezuela next year,” she said.

Maldonado has been linked to Lotus, who have been waiting for months to secure promised new investment from a consortium whose money has been slow in coming through, as well as cash-strapped Sauber and Force India.

Williams' Venezuelan connection comes ends after the Brazilian GP

Williams’ Venezuelan connection comes ends after the Brazilian GP

The PDVSA sponsorship deal was with Williams, rather than a specific driver, and still had another two years to run.

The Venezuelan money made up a significant part of the Williams budget but sources indicated the team will be sheltered from any immediate impact by highly favourable severance terms.

“I think when our numbers come out next year, people will see what has actually gone on behind the scenes with this whole arrangement,” said Claire Williams.

Williams indicated Brazil, with its fast-growing economy, could provide future backers. Massa is the country’s sole driver and no longer in the number two role he had at Ferrari.

“I think Brazil is one of the sport’s biggest markets, so it’s really up to us to go out and commercialise Felipe as our driver,” she said.

Pastor Maldonado won one race for Williams

Pastor Maldonado won one race for Williams

“We’ve been operating and looking for sponsorship in the Brazilian market for a long time now, we’ve had great Brazilian partners in the past. So we will be going out to Brazil to see what we can do out there.”

Former champions Williams have a long-standing connection with Brazil, dating back to the days when triple champion Nelson Piquet was with them.

Other Brazilians to have raced for Williams include the late great Ayrton Senna, who died in one of their cars in 1994, and Rubens Barrichello. Bruno Senna, Ayrton’s nephew, and Antonio Pizzonia also raced for the team.

“I hope we can bring some important companies to Williams from Brazil, I think Brazil is in a good moment and Williams has everything to give a good image,” said Massa. “So it would be nice to have some Brazilian sponsors as well.” (Reuters)

  • Mopar212222

    There is a lot of Latin and Russian $$$ supposedly laying out there waiting to buy seats, likely at the expense of DiResta, Kovy, Gutierez and maybe even the Hulk.

  • el vicepresidente

    Williams did not terminate tie-up with PDVSA was PDVSA and MALDONADO who terminates Williams,and that is the real news.
    WILLIAMS GOT THEIR MONEY FOR THIS EARLY TERMINATION,BUT REALITY WILL BE THAT THE CAR IS A POS,LIKE ALWAYS,NOT EVEN MASSA,WILL PUT WILLIAMS ON TOP.THEY NEED CHANGES,FROM THE TOP,A NEW MENTALITY,NEW PEOPLE,AND SORRY TO WILLIAM FAMILY THEY NEED TO GO TO FATHER AND DOUGTHER,LET THE EXPERT REACH A BETTER FUTURE.
    IF MALDONADO RACES FOR ANOTHER F1 BRAND HE WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION.