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Lotus boosted by $9 million Petrobras deal
Lotus boosted by $9 million Petrobras deal
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Mar 2010   |  7:33 pm GMT  |  50 comments

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.

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  1. Hyperion says:

    If this comes about then it is great news for both Lotus and F1.

    Lotus seem to be the most organised of the new teams, which makes it all the more suprising that they were passed over at the first round of entries for this year.

    1. Henry says:

      couldn’t agree more, congrats to lotus they deserve it after their performance on sunday.

    2. andrew says:

      lets see how they do over a few races, personally I got a strong suspicion the cars a dog… reliable maybe, quick ? absolutely not….

      1. ChrisS says:

        the complete opposite of the “old” Lotuses then!

  2. Bec says:

    Hope it’s true.

    Quote from Mike Gascoyne:

    “For those who said that new teams shouldn’t be here, you saw Heikki fighting with Hulkenberg and all of that, so we’re here, we’re racing, and **** you!”

    Lotus shamed many of the established teams AND their drivers.

    1. TM says:

      Did he really say that? Brilliant. Good on him!
      I for one am so glad the new teams are here.

    2. Martin P says:

      To be frank, if he said that it’s the Lotus name he shamed in my book.

      I know he’s not very tall but you’d think both he and the Lotus name would be big enough to let their results prove the point without resorting to that.

    3. Kenny says:

      Lotus finished and good on them for that. But, no established team or driver was shamed…relieved maybe, but not shamed. Gascoyne is full of it…has been, is, and probably always will be.

      1. Elliot says:

        Full of it? He delivered a finishing F1 car in six months.

      2. Kenny says:

        That has nothing to do with the fact that everytime he opens his mouth a load drops out….

  3. Daniel Silveira says:

    Funny. I would always expect Petrobras go to a team with a brazilian driver. Like Massa, DiGrassi, Senna and Barrichelo.

    Altough now,Ii wouldn’t be surprised if next year we would see a move of Senna or DiGrassi to Lotus.

    1. Adrian says:

      Senna in a Lotus….yes please!!

      1. Joao says:

        Senna in a lotus would be really nice! :)

    2. Mark Crooks says:

      Maybe it has something to do with the colour scheme used in the Lotus ;-)

      1. Andy says:

        haven’t the Lotus signed Trulli and Kovi for 3 years?

  4. George says:

    Good news for Lotus. Looks like they are running a really stable and well managed team, name is surely bringing in the sponsors too. But I am a bit surprised that Petrobas have not gone to Bruno Senna for obvious reasons.

    1. Mark Vadnais says:

      The Senna family must be furious. This is terrible news for Bruno Senna.

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Not necessarily, it could give him a means to upgrade his seat for next year.

  5. Seisteve says:

    Nice to see that hard work can bring success and we hope long term future for the team… great to see them in good spirits after their well deserved finishes…

    Of course you could say with Mike would we have expected anything else :-)

  6. malcolm.strachan says:

    Great news! Hopefully that will help them with some serious development through the year and launch them into the midfield. :-)

  7. HowardHughes says:

    Very interesting. The size of that company certainly puts F1 in perspective – god, they could buy the entire series and rebrand it Petrobas Formula One for about £2bn – petty cash.

    I wonder if this will draw Lotus and Mercedes closer together, with a future engine suppply deal when the current Cosworth one expires?

    1. Adrian says:

      I think you’re making the same mistake I made when I first read the start of this article.

      Mercedes’ title sponsor is Petronas, whereas it’s Petrobas that’s sponsoring Lotus…

      1. HowardHughes says:

        Ah, you’re totally right. Silly me. Kinda odd to have two massive companies in the same industry only a consonant apart. I might go and found a search engine called Goople!

      2. deschamps says:

        TWO consonants apart, the correct name of the oil company is PETROBRAS = PETROleo BRASileiro S/A. Besides PETROBRAS (1955) name is almost 20 years older than Petronas (1974)name.

      3. deschamps says:

        Petrobras is the 34th largest company in the world in revenues ($ millions) – 118,257 and Petronas ranked 80 with revenues of 76,965, in 2009, according to Fortune Global 500.

      4. deschamps says:

        PETROBRAS (1955) is almost 20 years older than Petronas (1974).

    2. adam says:

      Youd be better off talking to apple, market cap of $200bn. Who ever can convince apple to dip into their $29bn cash in hand would would be sorted – perhaps in F1s greener future……

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Then it could be called iF Racing?

  8. Robert McKay says:

    Petronas and Petrobras. Commentators nightmare :-D

  9. Martin P says:

    Not sure if this came through, the site crashed when I submitted it – so apologies if it’s a duplicate.

    But I find it interesting that Petronas are happy to sign on the line during “snore-gate”.

    I realise these things don’t get agreed overnight, but the timing of leaking/announcing is interesting. I suspect it’s just what Bernie needs to keep everyone’s hands off the panic button!

    1. Martin P says:

      Ooops, Petrobas!

      Now I get it actually… pay $9m and get a LOT more value because everyone confuses you with Petronas on the Mercedes and your brand value rockets.

      Very very clever.

      1. Tango says:

        OR, waist 9M as everyone will think you are the other guy!

  10. melonfarmer says:

    Good job, thought they did well at the weekend. Noticed Petrobas all over the Sao Paolo Indycar race on Sunday, wondered when they would get back into F1.

  11. Alistair Blevins says:

    Why do gasoline powered brassieres spring to mind whenever I hear that name?

    Sorry. It’s late. I’ll go now.

    1. HowardHughes says:

      Heheh… I heard Dieselpanties was gonna chip in a tenner to get their logos on USF1.

  12. Huggybear says:

    I think that the previous poster is getting muddled up between Petrobas and Petronas.

    Anyway, well done Lotus. If this turns out to be true its a real coup for a start-up team. I have to say that I’m really impressed by what Fernandes, Gazza and co have achieved in such a short space of time. By hiring decent drivers and producing a sensible, reliable car they are building a strong foundation on which to grow the team. If they can get some nice shrink-wrapped bodywork and crafty aero tweaks, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them troubling some of the mid-field teams by the seasons end.

    Oh and I love Mike Gascoyne’s ‘F*ck you’ attitude!

  13. James W says:

    Odd. I thought Senna had a large sponsership deal with a South American oil company? Come to think of it, I think it was Petrobras too.

    I just cant remember if it was on the condition of him getting a Brawn GP seat last year or for a team this year

  14. Just A Bloke (Martin) says:

    Really pleased for Tony, Mike and the team. Go for it…..

  15. Gareth says:

    Amen my son

  16. Mighty Quin says:

    This further enhances their position as the strongest of the new teams … hope Richard Branson is getting ready to be measured for his hostess dress!!

    1. Just A Bloke (Martin) says:

      There is a great picture on the Virgin Racing website of Fernandez and Branson. It looks like there could be real back of the grid spirit.

  17. Frenchie says:

    Tony Fernandes is incredibly business savvy.

    I think the new Lotus team has done very well for it first 6 months of existence and getting experienced heads such as Mike, Heikki, Jarno, Super Aguri, Renault and Toyota guys can only be a plus for credibility and sponsors.

  18. Nicollers says:

    The only thing Lotus about that car is the livery!

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      The same could be said about the Mercedes. It’s really a silver Brawn.

      1. Rodrigo says:

        Or a silver Honda!

      2. Nicollers says:

        I thought the Merc had a Merc engine!?


      3. Rodrigo says:

        It does, but the team is the former Honda.

        Honda > Brawn > Mercedes

  19. andrew says:

    why back Lotus, look at their perfomance in detail and I reckon its over 1 second per lap behind the Virgin cars. And as we all know, its best to make a quick car reliable than a reliable car quick ( when it plainly isnt ! ) The Lotus is a bucket and finishing is the start of their problems…

  20. Paige says:


    How closely is the sports car company of Lotus linking up with the team? I understand that they originally were completely separate entities, but I see that Proton- the owner of Lotus the sports car company- is now on the livery of the car. Are they now linked up?

    1. James Allen says:

      Getting closer – that is Tony Fernandes’ vision


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