The merger of two privately-owned sugar companies in 1959 created Copersucar, or to give the company its full name, the Cooperativa de Produtores de Cana, Acucar e Alcool do Estado de Sao Paulo Ltda. Other companies have bought into the firm and today there are around 30 shareholding companies and another 90-odd which supply sugar cane for the business. In 1973 the firm bought control of Brazil's biggest sugar company and as a result decided to increase awareness of its activities and agreed to sponsor the nascent Brazilian Formula 1 team which had been set up by Wilson Fittipaldi. The car was thus named the Copersucar and was launched in the autumn of 1974. It was raced by Fittipaldi in the course of 1975 without much success but at the end of the year Wilson pulled off a major coup by convincing his brother, double World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi to join the team. The team expanded to two cars on occasion with Emerson partnered by Ingo Hoffman and there were some promising results in 1976 and 1977. In 1978 Fittipaldi finished second in the Brazilian GP and seemed on the verge of a breakthrough but the F6 chassis in 1979 was not a success and by the end of the year Copersucar had become disenchanted and ended the sponsorship. The team struggled on until the end of 1982 but then closed its doors.

Copersucar continued to grow and today employs 1900 people and is one of the largest sugar companies in the world with annual sales of $1.3bn. The company also produces around 600m gallons of ethanol every year.