SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
Lotus F1 and Petronas
Petronas has a sponsorship deal with the BMW Sauber team which runs out at the end of the year. Before BMW took the decision to quit F1 a new deal was agreed but no contracts were signed and although the Malaysian oil company wants to continue in F1, the Malaysian government is obviously keen to roll the sponsorship into its Team Lotus operation. This will help enormously. There has been some resistance to the idea from Petronas management, but the reality is that they are not really in any position to argue with the Prime Minister, who has to find money to make it all happen.
The situation at BMW Sauber has also changed with the arrival of a new investor in Qadbak. It is not yet clear whether Peter Sauber will be returning as the team principal. He does not really want to do this but may feel that it is the right thing to do to protect his staff. Qadbak is highly secretive and so it is hard to know what they are going to do. The only indication thus far comes from the company's involvement in soccer, where big money has been spent at Notts County to bring in new management and new players.
Tony Fernandes, the team principal of Team Lotus, seems to be think that Petronas will be part of the team's sponsorship, despite the oil company having had a 14-year alliance with Peter Sauber.