Petronas to Extend Sauber Deal for 2010

Bad news for Frank Williams after Toyota's departure! Although the Grove based organization parted ways with the Japanese manufacturer last month in order to ink a deal with British company Cosworth, Toyota's quit might affect them in other ways too.

For example, it will leave a spot open for a 13th entry in the 2010 Formula One championship, the vacancy becoming the perfect opportunity for BMW Sauber to stay in the series for another season. If BMW's Mario Theissen will convince the FIA members – and there's no reason why he shouldn't succeed – to grant the Swiss team with the vacant spot, Peter Sauber will most likely keep all his former sponsors for 2010 as well.

Here's where things get complicated for Williams, as the British outfit was planning to “steal” BMW Sauber's main sponsor Petronas, in case the Swiss team wouldn't have made it to the 2010 grid. The Malaysian company admitted it wants to stay committed to the sport of Formula One and would seek another deal if that were to happen.

However, as this may not be the case – Peter Sauber's forced withdrawal from the sport now seems unlikely – Petronas confirmed that they will stick with the Hinwil based organization next year. The condition, of course, would be that FIA allows the team to continue their F1 operations and the team would sign the Concorde Agreement (binding them to the sport until the end of 2012). That would insure both Sauber's and Petronas' future in the series for at least 3 years, basically a win-win situation everybody is looking forward to be in.

As it is, it looks like an announcement will be made by Petronas in the coming days once it becomes clearer whether that vacancy left by Toyota becomes Sauber's. If Sauber are back in F1 for sure, and it looks a virtual certainty, then Petronas aren't going anywhere,” a source was quoted as saying to the Malaysian media on Wednesday.

Lotus F1 Team also seemed likely to approach Petronas for an F1 partnership – as the team is also Malaysian – but they will likely have other things to worry about in the next few months.
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