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Williams strikes oil with Venezuelan sponsor deal
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Williams strikes oil with Venezuelan sponsor deal
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jan 2011   |  5:30 pm GMT  |  112 comments

The Williams team is in Venezuela at the moment and today the team announced the long-awaited tie up with PDVSA, the state owned oil company. It is a massive boost to the team, which said goodbye to important sponsors RBS and Philips at the end of last season.

Venezuela has the world’s sixth largest oil reserves and is in the top ten oil exporters. It has by far the largest oil business of any Central or South American country.

Photo: Williams


“They are a substantial partner and can make a meaningful difference to our fighting ability,” said the team’s figurehead, Frank Williams. This is very true. Williams ability to attract talented engineers and to be able to develop cars, like every other team, is dependent on resources. This deal will make a difference to its ability to fight Renault at the fringes of the top four teams, rather than in the midfield with Force India and Sauber.

The deal is very much the work of the new Williams chairman Adam Parr who has been aggressively pursuing investment in both Venezuela and Qatar in the last six months.

The arrival of Pastor Maldonado has changed the tone at Williams, which is now a very South American focussed team. Maldonado’s team mate next season is Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, starting his 19th season in F1.

Maldonado is very much flying the flag for a country in which having a sportsman on a world stage is a major deal.

PDVSA has supported Maldonado’s career through the feeder series and the substantial long-term backing undoubtedly swung the drive his way in competition with Nico Hulkenberg.

Williams is F1′s great survivor team. So many have gone by the wayside over the years, but Williams has always proven Darwin’s theory of adapting to survive in a competitive and hostile world.

The team has always been adaptable when it comes to selling the team to sponsors and has gone through many phases of sponsorship; Saudi money in the early 1980s, Japanese money in the Honda years and an ingenious BMW total buyout of the livery in the early 2000s.

There were a couple of tobacco phases, with Camel and then Rothmans, co-inciding with the team’s most successful period from 1991-97, but on the whole the team was always far less reliant on tobacco money than McLaren or Ferrari.

Yesterday Maldonado did a demonstration drive of the Williams car on a special road course in Caracas in the presence of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and a crowd of thousands.

He will start testing in earnest at the start of February in Valencia.

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112 Comments
  1. jonrob says:

    Excellent news, we look forward to some real progress this year, it would be good to see Rubino get some higher placings.

    Though in light of other news today, Williams has better make sure no one in the team has a pet named Hugo. ;-)

  2. vodka and orange says:

    sorry,,,that should say….”greasing the palms of those that count”….ie Shekelstone and Max until last year.

  3. vodka and orange says:

    oh…and I remember reading back in 94 about Patrick Head shouting …”steering power, steering power!!!!”…..immediately AFTER the car had hit the wall while he was lookin at the telemetry on the pit wall whilst events were happening, but I have not been able to find that article since. I have however studied the telemetry data myself and know that the steering rack showed a sudden loss of pressure at the exact moment the 16 decided to turn right on its own, whilst the airbox camera was showing Ayrton hands on the steering wheel suddenly turning to the left EXTREMELY, which to most of us engineers proved conclusively that the front wheels were NO LONGER CONNECTED TO THE STEERING MECHANISM!!!!!! How much MORE evidence do we need for the truth TO FINALLY BE TOLD!!!! Sorry James to go off on one, but all this talk about the “new” Senna movie this year has re-opened old wounds for a veteran! #:/ I will not be going to see it, I know what I need to know already. This movies ending from what I surmise will NOT COVER THE ISSUES I NEED it to cover to EVER makle me warm to Williams or his fakkin team. Where is Dave Brown now? #:)

    1. This forum is primarily about F1 in 2011 : espousing personal theories about the Senna tragedy serves no useful purpose here.

      There’s another place where it’s possible to start a thread and explore theories, suspicions and personal prejudices against the Willams Team ad nauseam.

      There are many highly opinionated contributors there that can keep a thread going for months. Many of them rarely allow facts to interfere with a good story line.

      It’s even possible to join the Paddock Club, go for broke and start a thread about Dallas ’63 !

      The reason why many of us now spend more time on JamesallenonF1 is that James (normally) keeps this site free of this kind of stuff.

      Long may it continue.

      1. Andy C says:

        Well said Chris. There are undoubtedly facts and folklore elements here.

        Reading about and hearing yourself are two very different things.

        A tragedy is a tragedy, but unless people commenting were there it is just speculation.

        And the fact is he was very unlucky. He stood at tamburello after gerhard had a much bigger crash that he walked away from. It was an awful tragedy.

    2. Neil Barr says:

      I agree with your conclusion that the weld job was inadequate, it failed and caused the crash. That does not make Dave Brown and the Williams team Senna’s killers. The odds of that suspension arm (1) penetrating his visor and (2) in a manner that would penetrate his head are infinitesimal. A top F1 technician’s work is rightly presumed to be as good as the human hand and mind can make it. That’s not perfect. Senna knew that and accepted the risk of human fallibility. Is there any doubt that he would forgive the welder? Is there any doubt that he would vociferously insist that all (especially the Italian legal system) join him in urging the Williams team not to lose a step but to move on to the success he sought for them?

    3. Ry says:

      Accidents happen in motor racing – it’s a dangerous sport!
      What happened to Senna is tragic, I remember watching it as it happened and it was awful and terribly sad. But don’t be an idiot and blaming the team…..

    4. Feynman says:

      Both caps-lock and exclamation marks … well that’s me convinced.

      Perhaps you could get your own blog or website, instead of trying to hijack others and try to get a free lick of their traffic for your own personal pet theories and conjectures.

    5. Mario says:

      Senna would have died anyway, one way or another. His life was racing, as he was getting older he new he was nearing his end. He could not probably imagine life without racing cars and found his unique way out.
      I have seen this happen to a couple other greats. One of them was Jimy Hendrix, when he could no longer have it his way, he decided to leave, and off he went at the age of 28. Many were trying to put the blame on his girlfriend or find someone responsible, but they were missing the intangible reasons for why things happen. That is like seeing just a tiny fraction of an enormous picture.

    6. Peter C says:

      James
      I am shocked that you allowed this post at all, but didn’t at least moderate it. It really is quite distressing to read a post from someone who has been harbouring a grudge for so long.

      I have noticed a great deal of ‘fanboy’ posts on other sites,which is bad enough to read but nothing quite so unpleasant as this. It almost reaches the area of being actionable.

      1. Steve says:

        Well said that’s exactly what I thought!

    7. aziwal says:

      A bit too much of vodka there, I suspect.

    8. Born 1950 says:

      Looks like one of those comments you get under Youtube clips — you know, the sort that you never read.

  4. vodka and orange says:

    its me…Racehound! but you already knew that didnt you? #:(

  5. tEQUILLA sLAMMER says:

    Thats pretty amazing that finally i see somebody else that can voice all the things i thought at the time. It really looked more serious than just tire pressure to me as well. The cars were known for bottoming out due to low ride hight but the skid blocks helped to reduce that effect. The cars could not bottom out if they had skid blocks, because it was the skid blocks that hit the ground before the bottom of the car. I have always been suspicious that the car hitting the ground could be the cause of the change of direction!. I remember Jonathon Palmer, who was commentator, saying that this was not unusual, and sparks flying ubnderneath the cars in those days was common. Im with ts on this, because Senna was ultra talented when it cam eto racing.

    1. Frankie says:

      No conspiracy theory here, all aired in an Italian court.

      Tyres had cooled running slower behind the safety car, causing the car to run lower. Hitting the bumps in the Tamburello caused the car to lift, losing the majority of the down force generated by ground effect. The steering could turn along with the wheels, just the tyres don’t apply without grip. There was confusion over the black box data, but that showed the steering wheel to be in connection with the wheels.

      The FIA never made any changes in the regulations for the connection of the steering wheel after this, but they did ban ground effect and had straps attaching the wheel assembly to the cars.

  6. Phil Bishop says:

    “Williams is F1’s great survivor team.”

    I agree and I’m very pleased they have secured such an important sponsor. I think the majority of F1 fans would hate to see Williams be forced out of the sport.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      +1

      Williams is an essential part of the DNA of the sport.

      1. Martin Collyer says:

        + 1 more.

      2. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Add my voice to that, as well.

  7. rvd says:

    I’ve been an ardent fan of Williams since it’s inception in ’77. A true racer will do what it takes to survive.

    What a shame!

    I’d rather see tobacco money than communist oil money.

    Having bitched about that, I hope they are able to take ill gotten gains and move up the grid 3 or 4 places.

    1. Greg says:

      Well done Williams! Possibly the greatest deal of the winter; A GP2 Champ for a driver and a huge sponsor to get back into the game. Congratulations!

      To RVD.

      I really find it strange how you can bring Communism into this. Firstly, don’t fill your car up with fuel again as 80% of fuels come from Communist countries. Don’t go out shopping to buy your household goods, clothes etc as they too come from these countries and do you really believe our country isn’t manipulated?

      These countries stay like this because we don’t allow them growth (look at our mess), if they were; hey! we would have to pay more for stuff and then what would happen. Change is happening and its time to get use to it, these countries have wised up and now they hold the dollars.

      1. Declan says:

        “80% of fuel comes from Communist countries”.

        Complete fabrication of a ‘fact’ dressed up in hyperbole.

        You also seem to be confusing communism with cheap labour advantage. There are plenty of poor democratic countries that make ‘stuff’ too.

      2. Greg says:

        I probably didn’t word it correctly, I was also including Gas, Coal etc…..

  8. Alex Yarnell says:

    Williams may be survivors but then with respect teams like McLaren have survived a little more successfully perhaps?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s cyclical though isn’t it. McLaren were down after 1993 for a few years, don’t forget

      1. S.J.M says:

        All teams have triumphs and lowtimes. Ferrari for quite a few years from 1980 was a shadow of what they became in the late 90′s, or Lotus’s fall from grace. And they are/were both manufacturers. In F1 it seems that whatever goes around, comes around.

      2. Dave C says:

        Not really, for mclaren it was a blip in the mid 90s for their struggle and they also had 1 in 2009 but it was rather short but whenever they’re down you cam sense it was temporary and that they would come back but for Williams it seems the slide into oblivion seems terminal.

      3. russ says:

        I think Williams are past it.
        A dictators money is dirty.Whats next?A north korean G.P.?We dont have a sport anymore thanks to the fia and ferrari.Anything goes.Cash is king.

      4. alexbookoo says:

        Chavez has won more elections that most world leaders. You’ve inverted the word dictator.

  9. JJ says:

    The tie-up with a despot leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    1. Pierce89 says:

      I agree 100%. Williams is taking money from a dictator who has nationalizes every media outlet or successful business in his country so noone has the finance or voice to resist his takeover of the entire govt. Williams is taking money STOLEN from the people of Venezuela. I consider this my last day as a Williams fan.

      1. Williams4Ever says:

        So how does it feel to see monies “Private Entities” in Middle-Eastern and Swiss origin making used for funding other F1 teams? Don’t we know why Swiss banks are used for or has anyone verified source of income of these “private entities”.
        And Oil monies across the board is “Blood money” just because the executives of these oil companies behave as good corporates in Europe and America doesn’t absolve them from the deeds of these companies offshore.

        Maybe its time everyone stops driving automobiles given the amount of violence involved in taking control of fossil fuel resources outside Europe and America, and backed by corporates in Europe and America :(

        And then should we disassociate ourselves from Ferraris and Mercedes for the the Customized Mercs and Ferraris designed for the dictators in non-democratic countries in Africas and Middle East?

      2. boysie says:

        Oh please….Do you have any idea where Tobacco money comes from or what it fuels? And regarding freedom of speech, you can look much closer to home.

      3. alexbookoo says:

        This is just bizarre. So when a latin american elected goverment uses it’s national wealth to improve health, education and the lot of the poor, then it’s a dictatorship and Williams shouldn’t accept its money. Yet when other oil states, who happen to be pro West and feudal monarchies, use their oil money to build racetracks using exploited foreign labourers, that’s just fine, is it?

    2. Feynman says:

      Nothing new there though unfortunately, the laundry list of despicable regimes that F1 will parade itself and put on a floor-show for is one of the sport’s very greatest shames.

    3. Tim Horton says:

      Isnt this the same team that wore Bin Laden livery a few decades ago?

      1. CarsVsChildren says:

        Not quite the same thing. The Bin Laden business was a legit company who happen to have one extremist son, not connected to the business.

        Whereas Venezuela is a country run/controlled by a despot.

    4. Mario says:

      Money is money no matter where it comes from, or so it seems. May be Williams is in such a bad shape after the departure of sponsors that they need to ignore certain things in order to survive, which they’ve become known for.
      If we manage (somehow) to focus on good things like Williams’ revival and in turn their contribution to more exciting racing, maybe, just maybe, the thought that what some call “dirty money” is put to good use will cheer us up a bit.

      1. Greg says:

        Wait one minute! please.

        Forget the bad side for a minute and look at the good and the future of this relationship, this is a massive move from both a company and country. They have put themselves at the front of one of the worlds biggest sport and will be open to the media and public. This should be viewed as a huge positive move from the country.

        Remember we’re not perfect and I pretty sure we as a country have cause a lot more pain and suffering to others in the last 10 years to feed our greed.

      2. Mario says:

        I can see the good side of this. I wish the Venezuelan people and Williams well.

        But as you can see it is not easy for every one to focus on positives.

  10. Richard Bell says:

    I really want to see Williams up front again. Like Frank, I’m a quadriplegic and I can tell you to be fighting for as long as he has really shows he’s still extremely competitive and must be desperate to see his cars winning again.

    It’s been too long since we saw a team like Williams, that’s in F1 purely for the racing and not to sell anything, winning races. Ok you could say Brawn was in that position but that wasn’t planned, funded by Honda and it was always going to be for one transitional year anyway.

    If Williams win again I’ll be the first man to stand, cheer and celebrate, well maybe not the standing, if I did that it would be a miracle and I’d be in a lot of trouble for benefit fraud.

    1. Pierce89 says:

      I can’t cheer if the winning is financed by a COMMUNIST DICTATOR.

      1. jeff says:

        Well at least the winning isn’t financed by tobacco companies glamourising their products and being (partially) responsible for millions of people dying in interminable agony from lung diseases.

      2. Brandon says:

        Crikey it’s a good thing no teams are sponsored by alcohol companies, selling a product responsible for millions of deaths every year

      3. Greg says:

        I think Johnnie Walker sponsors Mclaren, so where is the outrage?

      4. paul says:

        ….Rather than being financed by the RBS, a company that wiped out the UK economy practically? (wait ’till June/july for our real economic bomb to drop)

        I felt physically sick whenever I saw that RBS logo on the williams. Any dictator sponsor could never stir that same hatred in me!

      5. James Allen says:

        What do you see happening in June/July?

      6. Declan says:

        Nostradamus goes by the name of Paul now?

      7. I believe an even harsher round of cuts is expected around July.

      8. paul says:

        I wish I was Nostradamus!
        There’s a nasty contraction cum crunch, I confidently but sadly am aware of, due for around July, although it could hold off a month or so. This is based on a number of economic nasties that are going to compound themselves.
        Imagine the UK economy as a slow motion train crash-the front carriage hits the buffers and carnage ensues(end of ’08)-but the momentum of all the carriages that follow on are still to come walloping into things! Successive, massive shunts over 30 months, resulting in a critical mass.
        And then imagine the Eurozone as a massive shiny Airbus that drops right into that nasty train crash just as everyone is staggering out. ..
        I realise that this makes me sound like some loon who stands with a cardboard sign shouting the end of the world is nigh, but im pretty normal-honest! Just informed.
        It’s not all doom and gloom though, im sure if you have some savvy and are willing to work hard (who in this world shouldn’t) then things will be bumpy but just fine….ahhh

      9. paul says:

        I should add in the interests of balance, that obviously this is just an internet post, i may be a nutter, I cannot be sued if you panic, sell your house and move to Tahiti.. etc etc!!
        (although dump sterling if you have any savings!)
        It is a little more complicated than the above, obviously, but for anyone interested -the Banks too Big to Save programme on the iplayer, whilst it doesn’t directly refer at any point to the impending doom, there are some very interesting, subtle insights for the informed observer within that programme.
        If you have the time or inclination, watch it any really try to absorb the concept of Fractional Reserve banking in the context of how RBS trade today.( Try and get your head round the implications of that.

    2. El Shish says:

      While the notion of teams being in it just for the racing is a romantic one, I’m actually attracted to this idea of racing companies diversifying and putting their innovations to use elsewhere. I have enormous respect for what Mclaren are doing with their applied electronics division and now going into the car-making business (again). Likewise, it would be great to see Williams make serious funding from innovations like their fly-wheel KERS units. It’s no coincidence that the three longest-serving F1 teams (Ferrari, Mclaren and Williams) are those that have (or, in the case of Williams, are developing) other ventures through which to generate cash. I’d love it for the next generation to be producing technological innovation that can be applied more easily to road cars and for the teams to generate revenue this way.

      1. Ajay says:

        That’s the problem with Williams. They’re diversifying a little late in the day. If they’d done it in the ’90s when they were winning championships, or even in the early 2000s when they had solid backing from BMW, they’d be in a much better position financially. And we might already have flywheel KERS in everyday use by now.

        Anyway, I hope this deal works well for them and we see Williams back at the top. Having lots of innovative, closely matched teams can only be good for the sport.

  11. jmv says:

    good luck to williams in 2011 to be in q3 and scoring points regularly.. plus a minimum of 1-3 podiums would be great!

  12. Chris says:

    I’m sure hulkenberg feels good about this

  13. S.J.M says:

    To me, its not about Maldonado or the finances hes brought, which are obviously important, but its all about Williams. They was the team that fought for the titles when i first got into F1, and being British too, has made a fan out of me and I desperatley want to see them back at the top of the pile again. IF Maldonado’s money helps then il be happy for them.

  14. Frenchie says:

    As a long time supporter of Williams, I am delighted with news of more money finding its ways to Williams.

    James, do you know if the deal with PDVSA is part of the estimated $13.5 millions Maldonado is bringing to Williams or is this on top of that?

    Do you also know how much of that money is dependent of Maldonado staying with the team? Is it reasonable to expect a performance close of 50% of Barrichello’s points in his contract?

    GP2 doesn’t get shown on free-to-air TV in Australia (if at all) and can only judge Maldonado’s performance on results.

    Taking four years to clinch the GP2 title and being destroyed by team mate Hulkenberg, I’m afraid he looks no better than Giorgio Pantano (who never found an F1 drive after also taking four years to win the GP2 title).

    Kamui Kobayashi proved us wrong despite his GP2 results (although he won the GP2 Asia tile)
    so let’s hope Maldonado can emulate his move to F1 machinery.

    1. Andy C says:

      I’m happy to see the immediate future secured too.

      Had those good old bankers not made s royal mess of the financial system end would not have had to pull their sponsorship.

      F1 has always been about picking your partners (however uncomfortable). If Maldonado is rubbish then judge him then.

      But I’m an armchair expert, as are most of my fellow readers here. Let’s see how he does.

      Ethically I don’t like the source of the cash, but nor did I like the cash from tobacco (and it’s associated illnesses).

    2. onyx says:

      Excuse me…Pantano did drive in F1, for Jordan and went to GP2 from there…he has a great record in the lower formulae…Rosberg,Button,Alonso all rate him..

      1. Frenchie says:

        Hi onyx,

        My point was that Pantano did not find an F1 drive after taking four years to win the GP2 title.

        In the context of James’ article, I was using Pantano as a yardstick to Maldonado’s four year stint in GP2.

        With regards to Pantano, it is not because you are gifted in your younger years that the form carries on into F1. Liuzzi is a great example of that.

  15. Stone the Crows says:

    Hope this allows them to bring some fresh talent to the engineering and aero departments, as well as enabling them to develop through the race season.

  16. rvd says:

    I wonder if a “long term contract” has any validity with this anarchist government.

    1. murray says:

      Isn’t “anarchist government” an oxymoron?

  17. ronmon says:

    This move appals me. Hugo Chavez [mod] nationalizes the assets of legitimate international companies that do business in his country. He has the morals of a swamp leech.

    Though I’ve never really been a Williams fan, I did have respect for the team. Not any longer. Let’s hope that karma comes through and they have an awful time in the years to come.

    1. What would you have said about Sir Frank’s deal with the Saudis at the end of the ’70s ?

      We all know about that country’s lack of democracy, treatment of women, etc.

      Yet it was Saudi money that put Williams on the road to success.

      As long as the money doesn’t comes from the proceeds of crime, it seems legitimate to me.

      It would be wonderful to see Williams return to the top during Sir Frank’s lifetime and if this deal helps to achieve that, I’m all for it.

      It was the right choice to keep Rubens, just a pity about Hulkenberg : He should have gone for the deal to stay on William’s driver roster as surely 2011 must be Ruben’s last season ?

      1. ahmed says:

        The Saudi way of life is one that has been around for centuries, theres nothing wrong with and theres no need for change. From the western point of view there might seem to be a lack of democracy or bad treatment of women however that is not the case. Saudi is a muslim country and abides by muslim laws and customs which just isnt compatible with western views and to be honest im deeply offended by your words, in any case the Saudi association was completely legitimate, the bin laden family run a very successful organisation with a legit source of income.

      2. Ahmed : I posted the comment only as a response to those who criticised the Venezuelan deal. I made no mention of Bin Laden, they were comments made by others.

        I welcomed the Saudia Williams deal at the time. I’ve also worked in Saudi Arabia and, for the record, I found the Saudi’s I met, ( naturally, all men ) charming, very friendly and most helpful.

        You’re right : the way some Muslim countries interpret Islam isn’t compatible with the Western way of life but here is not the place to have a discussion about Saudi Society and others.

        I’m sorry you feel offended. If you wish, I would be very happy to discuss this further in a private email conversation.

  18. SHIPARCH says:

    Along with the Hulk leaving I retire my respect for a once great Williams Team which now reduces itself to dealing with such culprit politician as Chavez. I’ve seen what’s happening in Venezuela and Cuba with my own eyes and don’t wish that happening to any country, unfortunately they’ve found the way to take their dealings to my favorite sport.

    1. -_- says:

      I have been to Cuba, I didn’t see anything wrong. Explain?

      1. SHIPARCH says:

        Are you kidding me? Were you blindfolded there or did you really go? I was born there I should know. But Cuba does not have anything to do with F1 so I’d rather stop it there.

        The fact is Sir Frank Williams sold his soul to the devil for a bit of cash which could be found through other, maybe more difficult means and got rid of amazingly good talent from Nico after just one year and one pole position.

      2. Ross says:

        I’ve been to Venezuela. I also didnt see any of these things either. People are free to talk and demonstrate openly against Chavez and often do. He won a democratic election unlike the current and former British prime minister.

        I am loving the morale outrage at the acceptance of Venezuelian oil money. I am sure once the Qatar royal family buy a team (more than likely Williams) there wont be a discussion about the human rights record of that country or any debate about democracy in that part of the world.

        Having been to both Qatar and Venezuela I know which countries people are more free.

        In my life time F1 has

        been mainly funded by an industry that knew its product killed people [mod].

        Seeked out new markets, ignoring any human rights issues of China or Abu Dhabi.

        I am sure I could go on and on.

        Spare me your morale outrage on this one please.

      3. Peter C says:

        Oh, so you moderated that, then. Why just that one when libellous comments pass by unhindered?

  19. Mario says:

    I was a fan of Williams when I was a kid in the 90′s cheering for Damon. Then I stopped watching F1 in the Schumacher era because I considered it boring (certainly it was better to get drunk with friends in the time of my life which I remember as 7 years long holiday). Since then Williams moved to the midfield and as I started following F1 again when Kubica got a drive. I cheer for whatever team he is in – now Renault, err.. no, Lotus, err.. Anyway, as a kid cheering for Damon I was not at all aware of all that money/politics business that is behind the scenes. Now I am a bit older and I am aware of it(it is hard not to be as I read this blog regularly), but I ‘ve got to say that back then it was much more fun being clueless.
    I’d love to find a way of recapturing that kind of carefree feeling.

  20. unoc says:

    Seee Maldondo isn’t a pay driver, the company baking him just happened to hitch a ride with Williams after they chose to take him, didn’t they?

    Pretty much what others said about dirty money + 1.

    It would be interesting to see fi they have a performance bit in Mal’s contract or otherwise ditching the driver may mean ditching the money. What a horrible time it is in F1 currently. Ferrari and McLaren have money. RBR have proved that even a new comer can rise to the top….. with money. Sauber and Williams with the experience and contacts barely manage thanks to money.

  21. Nathan says:

    I understand the need for cash, but this move is a disgrace. Doing a deal with Chavez spoils the respect I have for Frank and his team. Better to not survive than to sell your soul IMO. A sad day for this long time Williams supporter.

    1. Joe says:

      I have to agree. One million dollars gives shelter and food to a lot of homeless and poor people in Venezuela. To see tens of millions of dollars of those people’s money spent to the sole purpose of elevating the ego of a pantomime dictator is quite a shame. People should read about what is going on on Venezuela. If it all is fair game in Formula 1, how long until we start seeing sponsorship from the Colombian drug cartels and Middle Eastern extreme terrorist groups painted on the cars? Where does it stop?

    2. Ross says:

      I’d rather see PDVSA on an F1 car than a company that helped bankrupt the UK and caused untold amount of cuts and job losses.

  22. Bill Johnson says:

    I also deplore this sponsorship.

    Chavez is a nasty dictator.

    Yes, Venezuela has lots of oil. But it’s getting harder to get it, because the stupid Chavez has thrown out the useful oil company partners, and installed his ignorant political cronies. Petro production has been falling for several years.

    The counrty itself is simmering, and will boil over as Chavez finds less and less companies with assets to take over and distribute to the poor. Food prices are rising there, too.

    Yes, Williams stepped in it.

    I cannot support Williams this year, and will badmouth them until they leave Chavez behind.

    Bad, Bad Williams. You should be ashamed. Living off the blood of the Venezuelans….

    1. Peter C says:

      Politics is obviously not your strong subject.

      Stick to F1, There are blogs available that deal with F1, but some have been hi-jacked by poorly informed soap-box ‘politicians’.

      1. Bill Johnson says:

        No refutations, just hot air.

        Good on ya.

        But since you asked:

        Ban movable wings.

  23. walter says:

    Great to have dictator Chavez as a partner..

  24. Robert in San Diego says:

    I am amazed at the general view that is being put forward here. It was ok to receive tobacco money, the industry that kills more people per year than AIDS, car accidents and general ills put together, but take money from a country of dubious political leanings is terrible!

    Williams is a business in a sport that we romantisize because we love it. However Williams IS a business that has to survive in order for us to love it. For all the complaints I hear on this forum all I can say is GROW UP.

    Having been affected by the turn down in the economy I salute Williams for finding a way to survive. It does not mean I like the way they have gone about it but sometimes you have to do what is necessary.

    1. Declan says:

      +1

      Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Bill Johnson says:

      And yet, tobacco is still a legal product in each and every country F1 runs in, and is marketed there.

      You are free not to purchase this legal product, just as you are free not to purchase anything from any F1 sponsor.

      But get off your moral high horse. CARS kill more people per year than tobacco, alcohol, guns, swimming pools…

      I’m awaiting your call to ban auto advertising in F1 – or I show you as a hypocrite.

  25. Frankie says:

    Good luck to Williams, I just hope they have better luck getting money out of PDVSA than many multinationals. As far as an index for a sound financial footing is concerned, not sure if they do one for quicksand.

  26. John says:

    And yet Williams says hiring Maldonado is not about money? LOL

    This is exactly why I have no respect for them; they lie like a teenager and expect you to believe it. I’m luke warm to the Hulk, but he’s proven to have more talent than Maldonado (who he trounced in GP2; 3 victories to 0 and 6 fastest laps to 1….in equal cars!).

    The fact is, Maldonado is only there because of Venezuelian oil money [mod]

    1. James Allen says:

      Your post was libellous. Please read the rules of the blog and don’t do it again. It takes up valuable moderation time. Thanks, Mod.

      1. Peter C says:

        Moderator.

        So you’re telling this man ‘John’ that his post was libellous.

        You did precisely nothing about post 3 regarding the death of Ayrton Senna, which,if you look attracted several comments.
        This person (Post3) must be a hater of the Williams team, who he accuses of being guilty of killing his favourite driver. This is unacceptable & in my opinion libellous.

        Please be consistent.

      2. James Allen says:

        Well you didn’t see the parts of this one which had to be moderated out. You obviously feel strongly about the Senna issue, but if you take the emotion out of it and re-read the comment 3, you will see that it isn’t particularly strong or specific. It states a point of view – one of many that are heard when this subject comes up, even in F1 circles. That is very different from the comment that had to be moderated out in the other instance – Mod

  27. I can’t say I feel bad about this deal (even though idealists will no doubt go nuts with conspiracy theories).

    I think we have had too many German drivers in F1 anyway so it’s OK from my point of view if we get a more colourful grid in 2011. I wonder why Sato or Nakajima Jr. (both of whom didn’t perform on the level in all honesty) never got this sort negative reaction from the fans/media.

    Williams is going through a phase, a process, it’s normal.

  28. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    This is off subject but do you have any plans to write a book about a particular driver again in the future?
    I particuarly enjoyed your books on Schumy, perhaps Alonso would make a fascinating subject for one or maybe there is another book in Michael in a couple of years when is combeback i completed.

    1. Mr Anderson says:

      I agree, I’m reading “The Edge of Greatness” now and it’s a fantastic read. Maybe an extra chapter, or even a book on his time at Mercedes? That would be brilliant! – Although I suppose it might be better to leave it a few years to see how it all works out for him. I also read Maurice Hamilton’s history of Williams recently and can throroughly recommend it (sorry for advertising another author on your site James!). After reading that book I can really see that this sponsorship is typical Williams resourcefulness. I really hope that this give them more of a budget to push themselves up the grid.

  29. Tangui Van der Elst says:

    There is a lot of hypocrisy or ignorance in this trail.
    While I have no symapthy for the Chavez regime, fact is that almost all major oil companies sponsoring F1 teams are involved to a certain degree with murky regimes. Total (Renault and RBR) makes business with the Myammar Junta, Exxon-Mobil financed the angolan regime during a bloody civil war. Shell has fields in Nigeria causing great environmental harm to local population just to name a few. That is just the crude reality so well done to Adam Parr and good luck to Williams for 2011.

    1. Bill Johnson says:

      None of the companies you mentioned own or are owned by the despotic governemnts you mention.

      Sorta changes things, doesn’t it?

      1. Bob says:

        not really.

        People might wish to stop seeing things in monochrome, the worlds a lot more colourful.

        Its a little too simplistic to say one party good, other party bad, this isnt kindergarten.

  30. chris (comrade ) green says:

    As a committed eco-socialist I take umbrage

    with the comments about comrade Hugo. lol

    btw – isn’t it communist China’s credit that is

    keeping the capitalist west from collapsing?

    The F1 business is model is unsustainable.

    Bring back kit cars!

  31. A.B. Normal says:

    Apparently the average F1 fanatic has passion and free time to spare… I remember watching Senna die live from Michael Schumacher’s on board camera. It seemed quite obvious that there was a mechanical failure. Still, no reason to blame Williams in a sport that is intentionally pushing human limits in a potentially perilous manner.

  32. Brian says:

    “Sport should not be kept away from politics, it should be supported, like happens in Venezuela,”

    – Pastor Maldonado http://ca.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idCATRE6B85EK20101209?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

    I have a bad feeling about this. Good luck to Williams.

    1. Bob says:

      like the England world cup bid, totally apolitical – and what a success!

  33. David McVey says:

    I find this whole thread ridiculous.

    Any country/organisation/culture that permits individuals to accrue vast sums of personal wealth is contributing to the suffering of someone somewhere.

    Calling Venezuela is pure hypocrisy, take a look closer to home and the toffee nosed rich boy in charge at No.10.

    On the point of Williams being responsible for Senna’s death. Ludicrous!! In the early 90′s F1 was a different animal altogether. The cars were extremely unsafe to the point that if you had a major spill you were almost guaranteed death if not life threatening/career ending injury. Lest we forget, Senna was just one of 2 men killed that horrific weekend at Imola and dear old Rubens came pretty close too.

    I bet Senna is turning in his grave. Shame on you!!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think we’ll close this thread. [Mod]

      1. JJ says:

        Close the thread? I know it takes work to moderate, but I think you should be flattered that this is where the discussion is taking place. It’s not happening anywhere else.

      2. James Allen says:

        Discussion always takes place here, but we want to keep the level high.

  34. Anthony C says:

    There is one less team and two less drivers in F-1 as far as I am concerned

  35. Andy C says:

    Guys

    Can we remember this is an f1 thread, not a political debating site.

    There are a lot of sponsors in f1 past and present that many would argue an ethical argument about. Tobacco, alcohol financial services companies.

    One of the reasons I’ve read James blog for so long was the lack of these mass arguments that are starting to creep in. And fanboy/defamatory comments about drivers etc.

    Let’s keep this blog about racing, not politics.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agreed. This one rather grew, but we want to keep the quality high and focussed on racing as much as possible. I don’t mind a bit of wider context, but political rants are definitely not on – JA

      1. Andy C says:

        A possible political spinoff site in the making James?;-)

        Have you been following the events/financial problems at the nurburgring recently. Here’s hoping it is sorted without closure. The greatest ever f1 track in my view, but clearly the safety aspect was always there.

        For anyone else who’s driven it, my respect for those f1 drivers of the era was increased dramatically. The number of blind crests is unbelievable (on the nordschliefe)

      2. James Allen says:

        I have. I know the track well, once had to do about ten laps when filming for a car programme an item on the Jaguar XKR. Horrible to driver around the Nordschleife!! I’ve been driven round it by DC, Norbert Haug (very quick) and Bernd Schneider (exceptionally quick)

  36. David McVey says:

    Sorry James. Didn’t mean to offend.

    What car did Bernd Scheider
    take you round the ring in?

  37. Stone the Crows says:

    I think many underestimate what an uphill battle it is for independent teams to gain sponsorship at any time, much less when the world economy is in a downturn. Most blue-chip companies who are looking to sponsor an F-1 team want the cache of a team’s brand/reputation attached to their brand. Williams is a great team and has a fine pedigree, but not the same draw for sponsors that say Mclaren or Ferrari have. Not to mention that the big dogs tend to lure away the bigger sponsors. It’s no secret that Williams needs more money to move up the points pecking order. They need the means to develop their car initially and the means to develop their car in response to the other teams through the season. This doesn’t come cheap. I don’t understand the moral outrage. Take a look at the sponsors for Renault/Lotus in support of Vitaly Petrov. Its no more immoral than RJ Reynolds sponsoring Ferrari, Johnny Walker for Mclaren or Red Bull for RBR and STR. Not to mention major banking firms and insurance companies, they’re all pure as the driven snow too I suppose.

    1. JJ says:

      Prior to ’08, it would’ve been near impossible for teams to evaluate who were good and bad financial institutions. It is much easier to see the role PDVSA plays in Venezuela. The difference between tobacco/alochol and PDVSA is that those companies sell products to millions of people who should know better, whereas PDVSA is now the main funder of a single guy, in charge of millions of people, who should know better.

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