Petronas To Sponsor Mercedes
This really got me curious. I thought the Lotus F1 team represents Malaysia? I thought Petronas is run by Malaysia government? Then why Petronas does not sponsor Lotus but Mercedes? Did the now Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team offer more kopi money to whoever in charge at Petronas?
MERCEDES GP has dealt a huge blow to the hopes of new Formula One team Lotus by announcing Malaysia’s state oil company Petronas as their title sponsor for 2010.
The former Brawn squad — still hoping to lure Michael Schumacher into the cockpit — will be officially known as the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team.
The deal is a slap in the face for Lotus, who are positioning themselves as Malaysia’s F1 team even though their factory is in Norfolk.
Lotus is run by tycoon Tony Fernandes, whose Air Asia budget airline is based in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.
It has Malaysian government backing and Air Asia is a major customer for Petronas’ aviation fuel.
Fernandes also signed Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy as the team’s reserve driver in the hope of attracting major sponsorship from the Far East country.
The Merc scoop will also disappoint Sauber.
The Swiss team has risen from the ashes of BMW, who were backed by Petronas this season, and had hoped the sponsorship would carry over.
Mercedes, for whom Nico Rosberg will definitely drive, said their 2010 car will be presented in its new livery for the first test of the new season at Valencia, Spain, on February 1.
They released a rough artist’s impression of what it may look like, revealing a combination of Merc’s Silver Arrows livery and the turquoise colours of Petronas.
The oil and gas company is swimming in cash.
It made a net profit of £9.5billion in the 12-month period to March this year.
Merc team principal Ross Brawn said: “The collaboration gives our team a fantastic base from which to achieve our ambitions of competing at the top level of Formula One and building on the success of 2009.
“Our plans for the new season are progressing well, as is the development of our 2010 challenger.
“And we look forward to seeing the car run in the new livery at the Valencia test in February.”
“The new title partnership also paves the way for future collaborations between the two companies,” Mercedes added in a statement.
It said Petronas would be able to “generate sustainable business growth, particularly in their downstream lubricants market, through the strategic partnership and business alliance with Mercedes-Benz.”