It is being reported in Brazil that the new Lotus team, which made its debut in Bahrain at the weekend and got both cars through as classified finishers, has landed a sponsorship deal worth $9 million with Brazilian oil company Petrobras.
It is said in Brazil that the cars will start running with the Petrobras branding from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards.
Petrobras has not confirmed the reports in O Globo, and has said only that it is “in negotiations”, but sponsorship sources in the UK suggest that the deal is now done. Petrobras is understood to be on its way back into F1 after missing the 2009 season following the withdrawal of Honda, with whom it had agreed a deal which as never announced.
Prior to that, Petrobras was a partner of Williams for ten years from 1998 to 2008.
Over the winter, Lotus boss Tony Fernandes had hoped to land the €30 million Petronas sponsorship, which instead went to Mercedes GP as a title sponsorship. Petronas is the Malaysian oil company and Lotus is Malaysian-owned.
Petrobras is the 8th largest corporation in the world in terms of of market value at $164 billion.