Williams F1 Ends Tie-Up With Major Sponsor PDVSA After Pastor Maldonado Departure
Williams F1 Deputy Principal Claire Williams said that the team "will end its tie-up with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA" at the close of the F1 season after driver Pastor Maldonado's departure from the team, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. At the presentation of Brazilian Felipe Massa, currently with Ferrari, as Maldonado's replacement on a multi-year deal, Williams said, "It (the branding) won't be on the car for next year. 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 that "the driver had taken the decision to look elsewhere." Maldonado has been linked to Lotus, which has "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." 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." Williams: "I think when our numbers come out next year, people will see what has actually gone on behind the scenes with this whole arrangement" (REUTERS, 11/11).