McLaren and sponsor Petrobras have parted ways ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, in a move agreed by ‘mutual consent’.
Petrobras, the Brazilian multinational petroleum company, joined the McLaren team as a sponsor ahead of the 2018 season. Just eighteen months on from that deal, they have now split with McLaren ahead of their home race at Interlagos next week.
According to McLaren, the deal ended ‘by mutual consent’. McLaren had been due to switch to Petrobras as an actual fuel supplier for 2019, but the switch was delayed as a result of uncertainty over the deal. McLaren will thus continue to use BP as their fuel supplier.
The five year contract between McLaren and Petrobras has been in question for months, after Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro tweeted that his government were seeking a way out of the deal in an effort to reduce government spending.
A tweet from Bolsonaro’s account suggests the deal has been cancelled for the last two weeks, stating the the deal was “An absurdity committed with the taxpayer by previous government.” The deal, supposedly worth 200 million euro over five years, was condemned as ‘unjustifiable’ by Adolfo Sachsida, the Secretary of Economic Policy of the Ministry of Economy.
After the cancellation of the deal was made public, CEO of Petrobras Roberto Castello Branco said: “We recognize the importance of McLaren in global motorsport and we are very satisfied with the results delivered during the two years of our partnership.”
He continued: “The project allowed Petrobras to develop high-technology gasoline and lubricants through research with new raw materials and tests performed in extreme conditions. The technological development will be used in lubricant and fuel products. We see in McLaren a commitment to innovation and also the possibility of future partnerships.”
Zak Brown, McLaren Racing Chief Executive Officer, said: “We would like to thank Petrobras for their partnership and support. We have great respect for their technical and scientific capabilities, and there is no doubt the company’s technicians have made substantial progress in the time we have been working together. We wish everyone at Petrobras every success and hope to see them back in the sport again in the future.”