Petrobras to Quit F1, Deny Bruno Senna Backing

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras have denied allegations that they are considering to be part of a rescue plan for Honda's F1 team. According to, Petrobras' Head of Sponsorship Claudio Thompson insisted the company he represents will not even continue to be part of Formula 1 altogether, following the lack of challenges provided by the series in the years to come.

With Honda's F1 team quitting the sport in December 2008, Petrobras was left without a manufacturer to supply fuel to in the upcoming Formula 1 season. Although they had an ongoing $10 million sponsorship deal with the Japanese manufacturer for another season, Petrobras has also announced they do not plan to see the contract through as a consequence of Honda's withdrawal from the sport.

“Petrobras' presence in Formula One was our means to continue technological development and to do that we needed to work closely with a manufacturer,” said Thompson, according to the aforementioned source.

“Once Honda announced it was pulling out of Formula One, we decided we were going to stop too, because all the manufacturer-backed teams had fuel suppliers for 2009. We're not interested in just being a commercial sponsor without the possibility of using and developing our products,” added Thompson.

The news also means Bruno Senna's future in Formula 1 is now in doubt, as Petrobras was believed to be the major financial force backing Ayrton Senna's nephew in his quest for an F1 seat this season. In fact, the company issued a short statement on the matter last week, denying plans to sponsor the Brazilian driver in F1.

“Petrobras denies the rumours seen in the media about Bruno Senna's hiring by the ex-Honda team with the company's support. The company has no contract with Honda or any future team being formed for the 2009 Formula One season. Petrobras also reiterates that under the terms of its Motorsport Sponsorship Programme, it does not sponsor drivers individually,” said the statement.
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