Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
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Williams sign deal with Petrobras
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  18 Feb 2014   |  3:48 pm GMT  |  115 comments

Williams has signed a multi-year deal with Brazilian energy company Petrobras, renewing a partnership that lasted from 1998 until the end of 2008.

“Petrobras and Williams have had a successful partnership before and we are both looking forward to reuniting for 2014,” said Team Principal Sir Frank Williams. “Technologically they are very strong and that will be important for the team as the new regulations have made fuel efficiency increasingly important. They are also a very ambitious global company and we are looking forward to working together to further their marketing goals.”

Petrobras’ logo will feature on the side of the Williams Mercedes FW36 chassis and across the team environment and apparel.

The new agreement will see Williams and Petrobras collaborate to develop a new specialist motorsport fuel for use by the team starting in the 2015 season.

The announcement follows yesterday’s news that Swiss watch manufacturer Oris will continue to sponsor the team in 2014.

Williams are also heavily rumoured to be on the verge of adding Martini as a title sponsor. The team ran an all-blue livery at the opening test in Jerez but there have been suggestions that the team’s Martini-flavoured colour scheme will be unveiled this week in Bahrain.

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115 Comments
  1. Certainly that fuel will be better than Petrobras provides for us here in Brazil.

    1. Sebee says:

      Maybe Shell makes their F1 petrol?

      Now we know Massa has backers too. Well done Brazil to back one of your own.

    2. Spectreman says:

      Well, duh. It’s F1 fuel, you could say that of ANY fuel supplier.

      1. JSpeed says:

        The diference is that ethanol is not added in the F1 fuel. Shell has already made a program a few years ago where the Ferrari’s drivers explained that. It was long ago that FIA had forbbided the development of special fuels to F1.
        By the way, the fuel in Brazil is the worst in the world!

      2. James McPastilhas says:

        As a comic entry for my Brazilian friends, what about Urinolina? (Search for novela Araponga from Globo TV if you can’t remember Urinolina!)

        ps: I’m not Brazilian, but I do speak Portuguese. ;-)

      3. JSpeed says:

        @Pastilhas: I didn’t watched that novela, despite the fact that we can’t avoid novelas in Brazil, specialy a success like Araponga! Said that, I don’t remember Urinolina, but the name of that fuel makes me think that it could be used in the Kimi’s Ferrari. LOL

      4. Hey Spectreman (I used to see it on TV at 80′s), ironic mode on…

        Of course I know that F1 Fuel is at another level.

        The thing for us – brazilians – is not about our crazy gasoline (with low quality), the main thing is that Petrobras is passing by one of the greatest investment crisis of his history. We found one of the largest oil acumulations but it remains at deep water in Atlantic, so Petrobras made ​​a huge capitalization and increased its level of indebtedness.

        The company had lost more than US$ 34bi of his market value just in 2013.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge F1 (and McLaren) fan, but as brazilian, I’m not happy with the deal.

      5. Spectreman says:

        @Will Mesquita: as a fellow Brazilian, I’m happy with the deal, after all, advertising is the soul of business, isn’t it? I can only guess you’re actually trying to insinuate something about Brazilian politics, a subject that should have no place here.

      6. Well Spectreman, “advertising is the soul of business”.

        The thing is that is not totally true in the Petrobras business…

        I’m a supporter of our president, and I’m a stakeholder of Petro. I just think that the deal came in a bad hour for the company.

        Despite disagree with your way of thinking about politics (“a subject that should have no place here”), to me, politics is everywhere.

        ps.: sorry about my english.

      7. “99% of the chemistry in Shell V-Power race fuel is identical to the chemistry used in the road fuel that can be bought at Shell forecourts,” said Alonso. “The Shell V-Power road fuel felt just as quick as the Formula One fuel. It’s a nice surprise.”

        Not the same for our gasoline here, for sure.

        And with a price close to 1 euro/L.

    3. JSpeed says:

      I hope the brazilian government doesn’t drive the Petrobras into bankruptcy before the end of the year…

      1. No chance JSpeed, the trimestral earnings of Petro are huge, it’s a monopoly…

        The risk is for long term, as the company could not reach its investment plan for the next 5-10 years.

      2. JSpeed says:

        Well, if the governement political intervention in the company keeps strong as it is, Petrobras will be a PDVSA much sooner.

      3. Spectreman says:

        JSpeed, what are you trying to do? Smear one of the largest companies in the world just because you don’t like the current Brazilian government? This site is about F1, I repeat: Formula One, NOT Brazilian politics.

      4. JSpeed says:

        Spectreman, I’m not trying anything. It’s not a question whether I like the governement or not. The FACT is the company lost it’s value, as Mesquita explained in his comment, due to political decisions. The result is that its debt amount is almost the value of the company.
        Since Petrobras is returning to sponsor Williams in a long term deal, I feel free to comment about its financial health. Sorry that you get bored about brazilians comments, but if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      5. H.Guderian says:

        Are you from PT???
        Are you a Jame’s moderator???

        I think JSpeed is totally right and can say whatever he wants.

    4. ian says:

      I think – could be wrong – that Renault’s F1 engines are a bit better than the ones you find in their road cars.

      1. Tim says:

        I guess that depends on how you define better. Right now, the Renault powered Red Bull would struggle to win a GP racing against a Clio – it is struggling to compete more than a handful of laps before something starts burning. Happy days :-)

      2. AnthonyD says:

        and by Renault I think you mean Mercedes… quite thankfully for Williams too!

    5. Gaz Boy says:

      Interesting comments. I have read the Autosport report on the 1975 Brazilian GP at Interlagos on the 26 January, and the reporter, Pete Lyons notes that some of the teams were suffering from fuel metering and fuel starvation problems because the fuel was locally supplied to the teams by…………you guessed it, local fuel specialists Petrobras!
      Incidentally, in that race Jean Pierre Jarier was leading by a country mile in his Shadow when he suffered a fuel metering problem and was forced to retire with engine problems, so dodgy local fuel may have had something to do with it. Mind you, the local Paulista’s wern’t complaining – Jarier’s retirement meant local boy Carlos Pace won the race!
      PS By the way, imagine what it was like driving on the old 5 mile Interlagos track, with the flat out sweeper of Turns 1, the mega long back straight feeding into the equally daunting Turns 2 and 3? Interlagos still a great track, but what a circuit the old track was……..

      1. Obviously times changed, and I’m not a Petrobras specialist, but from what I know of that company the expertise is extraction of deep water oil, not refine or special gas development.

        But, what it seems to me is that what is important is that £ will go to Williams and Petrobras brand will be at FW36.

        Good deal for both? Let’s see.

    6. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Not understanding why there is no explanation about MASSA’s presence in Williams regarding this Brazilian partnership with Petrobras…

      James please, is this the first reason for Williams for signing a devaluated MASSA in the end of his career?

      1. James Allen says:

        He might surprise you…

  2. marc says:

    Petrobra and Martini, Williams seem to be pulling the sponsors in. McLaren seem strangely quiet in their long term sponsor. James have you heard anything?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      They’re still waiting for Sony to sort their internal wrangles aren’t they? McLaren are doing okay for money though – it is great to see Williams pulling in the money to push the car out of last years doldrums though…

    2. Thomas says:

      I’ve read (non-confirmed by official sources) that Honda is already sponsoring McLaren heavily for 2014.

      1. Joel says:

        Well, you got to be realistic man. I doubt any money is flowing to McL from Honda as of yet. Also, the 100M figure, includes cost of engine, etc. The figure is only a reference, not the exact amount.

        Although, I would agree that money is not hurting McL much now. But, top teams are known to burn through a lot of cash in no time.

      2. Nedder says:

        A significant proportion of McLaren’s budget is being supplied by Honda this year. I thought this was widely known…

      3. Joel says:

        Nedder, I think that’s a widely known rumor. Why would Honda wants McL successful with a rival (when their own performance is still unknown), its more or less a free advertisement for Mercedes.

    3. Lee Staples says:

      McLaren isn’t hurting for money. There was a report a couple of weeks ago that Honda was already kicking in 100 million per year and paying half of the drivers’ salaries. That money started flowing as of this year. Also, McLaren has the largest budget for F1 they’ve ever had. So no, they haven’t signed any major sponsors, but the Honda money is making up the gap for them. There was also a report a couple of weeks ago that they were competing with Lotus for major sponsorship from Sony’s Playstation brand. I also read a report that along with Williams and Ferrari, they were in discussions for the Martini sponsorship. Martini decided to go with Williams because the money they are paying would buy a complete livery with Williams as opposed to just a logo placement with Ferrari or McLaren.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Great to see the Martini brand/legend back in F1, presumably Frank’s motor home will be very popular on a Sunday evening when Martini distribute free samples of their product………..as Martini used to sponsor Brabham I wonder what chance Mr E popping round for a Martini and tonic?

      2. Dren says:

        Aren’t the Mclaren board members not taking dividends this year, too? In order to free up some money for the F1 side.

      3. Joel says:

        I’m pretty sure that Honda money is strictly for next year’s car. Honda would be crazy to give money to McL to develop the 2014 car, and even crazier if we believe otherwise.

      4. Lee Staples says:

        Nope. The report states the money is already flowing to McLaren as of this year. It doesnt sound crazy to me at all. Without money from Honda, McLaren would have to divert money for development for next years car to race operations for this year. The last thing Honda wants is to put their new engine in a crap car. 8 would also thing McLaren has already started on next year car.

  3. Jon Wilde says:

    Great news for Williams! The team seem to be on the up!

    Small observation on the Martini comment, it wouldn’t make much sense to launch an alcoholic drinks title sponsor in a country in which advertising alcohol is prohibited.

    Although I guess logistically the cars are unlikely to return to the UK before the Australian GP, so they may be prepared in livery different to that seen in Jerez.

    1. Bomboi69 says:

      Point of order – alcohol is not banned in Bahrain. Having lived there for several years, I can vouch for its plentiful availability….

      1. Joel says:

        But, is “advertising alcohol” permitted? There is a difference here between consuming alcohol in a star hotel frequented by the rich & famous and the advertising which usually targets the regulars.

      2. Jon Wilde says:

        Thanks Joel.

        It’s advertising of alcohol I was referring to. Mclaren remove Johnnie Walker branding for the Bahrain GP, and Mumm Champagne is replaced with sparkling fruit juice on the podium.

        So to launch a Martini deal in Bahrain seemed unlikely to me.

      3. bomboi69 says:

        Thank you for including me in amongst the ‘rich and famous’ :-)

        Yes, you are correct. Advertising, in the sense of mass media advertising, does not happen but sponsorship by suppliers and brands does happen – albeit usually quite low-key.

        However, the point that I was trying to correct was the misconception that, just because it’s a Muslim country that alcohol is banned. It isn’t in Bahrain, Qatar or most of the UAE.

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        I remember seeing last year in Abu Dhabi there were some spectators on a boat with a girl in a bikini and a topless guy in little shorts with and the pair of them were sharing a bottle of champers, so perhaps, at least track side and in the hotels, some Gulf states allow, ahem (cough) permissive, hedonistic decadent Western culture.
        I agree that probably Melbourne we will see full blooded Martini advertising, although our Australian friends probably prefer supping a can of Fosters.

    2. Dan says:

      I’ve been to Bahrain on several occasions. You can drink at any hotel bar. Saudi Arabia is another issue.

    3. JEZ Playense says:

      The photos are aimed at the entire world, so I doubt Williams would hold back the livery launch because of any no alcohol/ local customs ( which in this instance are not applicable).

    4. alexbookoo says:

      It may be superficial but I think I’m going to support Williams this year if they have a Martini livery. I just love that livery. Reminds me of Lancia rally cars.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Yes I agree, Lancia and Martini rally cars were a great combination visually. Unfortunately, the Martini sponsored Lanica Delta S4 will be remembered for the 1986 Corsica rally where Henri Toivonen and co driver Sergio Cresta inexplicably crashed into a ravine. The Delta S4′s fuel tanks were ruptured (they didn’t have a skid plate) and the car exploded into flames, and the two men inside were incinerated. In fact, when the rescue team went to the scene of the accident, all that remained was a charred space-frame and the bones of the unfortunate occupants.
        I know that sounds a gruesome story, but it shows you safety in motor sport can never, ever, be taken for granted.

      2. alexbookoo says:

        Toivonen was the Senna of rallying.

        I wrote the above sentence before finding this article, which says the same thing. But I was looking for a source for the claim that Toivonen lapped Estoril in 1986 in a Lancia Delta S4 in a time that would have put him 6th on the grid for Formula 1 that year:
        http://www.redbull.com/uk/en/motorsports/offroad/stories/1331586320250/henri-toivonen-at-estoril-exploring-the-myth

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Re Alex: yes, Henri was a stunningly quick and talented rally driver. He won the 1980 and 1985 RAC Rally of Britain, so he obviously had an affinity with the mud and forests of Britain. Unfortunately, because the Tour De Corse was a tarmac event, the skid plates underneath his Delta’s fuel tanks was removed, which contributed to the fuel cells being ripped open, with tragic and fatal consequences.
        Had those skid plates been fitted, and had Henri survived I’m sure Finland would have had another great rally world champion, do doubt about that.
        Group B was a fun time, but ultimately it was total lunacy, and it took the deaths of Henri and Sergio for common sense to prevail.

    5. KRB says:

      All teams will have built at least two chassis already (and most have probably made 3-4), so the livery will be on one of those back at the factory.

  4. Aficion says:

    Excuse my ignorance, but I was under the impression that fuel was one of those things that was strictly regulated and very close to what’s used in road cars. How much flexibility do they have in changing it?

    1. Thomas says:

      Here’s an old article James wrote about fuel mixing:

      http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2011/05/how-f1-fuels-are-made/

      1. Aficion says:

        Ah, thanks a lot Thomas. That’s perfect.

  5. Valentino from montreal says:

    Why can’t Williams F1 team get back to the too like in the 90′s ?? Is it a budget problem ???

    In the early 2000′s when they had BMW power , Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya won a handful of races racked up lots of poles , all done in the extremely competetive Schumacher-Ferrari era … Heck , with the Michelin tires Williams BMW were serious championship contenders in 2003 !!

    I hate Mercedes , hope their official works team never wins another race in F1 but I wish seeing Williams Mercedes get success sooner rather than later …

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Frank and Beemer should of won both 2003 championships. That years Frank was a short wheelbase machine (as was that years Macca and Regie) while Ferrari were struggling with their cumbersome long wheelbase car, as well as problematical Bridgestone tyres. Ferrari struggled on tight twisty tracks that year, and that years Frank was class of the field, so championships were ripe for the taking. And yet they blew it………
      Ferrari built a short wheelbase machine for 2004 and dominated that year……..meanwhile Frank went into a 10 odd year downturn……

      1. Steve J says:

        Not to mention a Ferarri / Bridgestone protest of the Michelin tyres just when the ’03 championship was getting interesting…

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Hit the nail on the head there. It’s rubbish when a mid-season tyre change ruins the racing and the championship. ’03 by declaring illegal tyres that were prefectly legal for many previous races, favouring Ferrari over JPM and Kimi., Ferrari winning all remaining races and also many into ’04.

        Glad F1 learned the lesson and such a mid season tyre change has never happ…

      3. Phil R says:

        Where are you from Gaz Boy? It’s like the opposite of Ronspeak the way you talk about “that year’s Frank” :)

        Also had something to do with a very dubious tyre protest after Hungary totally wrong footing the Michelin teams (one of the few times I’ve seen Ross Brawn off balance), Ferrari International Assistance at Indianapolis and an engine failure in the lead at Austria.

        The next year they then screwed up on the twin tusk front wing which only ever worked in a very narrow window (basically the wind tunnel) and Bridgestone discovered a huge step with their tyres at the final pre season test.

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Phil R: Agree that with FIA intervention on the tyres after Hungary and also Indy. Fair points.
        owever….lets looks at the evidence: Monty spun off in Melbourne, Canada AND Hungary costing him valuable points, had a silly incident at Malaysia, crashed out in Brazil (in all fairness so did half the field in that crazy race), and was beaten by Ralfie in Nuburgring and France. Williams-BMW dropped the ball at San Marino with a faulty fuel rig, the engine grenaded itself in Austria and Japan.
        I think its fair to both Monty and Williams-BMW were complicit in squandering a possible world championship. Maybe if Frank and Patrick had recruited a more mature, consistent driver such as, for example, Jenson, Kimi or Fernando then 2003 WDC would have been their’s. The fact that those three aforementioned drivers did win world championships proves that.
        I don’t include Ralf as a potential WDC as he was too inconsistent – as proved by his disastrous stint at Toyota, although Ralfie got paid a big juicy salary for three years of non achievement, well down to him on that, at least he got financial compensation for driving badly.
        You’re right about Frank and Patrick messing up their 2004 challenger, and Bridgestone getting their act together. Mind you, I also questioned the motivation and attitude of Ralfie and Monty that year as both knew they were departing Grove at the end of the year.

    2. Tim says:

      I hate Mercedes , hope their official works team never wins another race in F1…

      I suspect you may not enjoy the forthcoming season very much ;-)

    3. KRB says:

      Hate is a strong word.

  6. Dave Emberton says:

    I wonder if this is all part of the Massa-deal?

    But things do generally seem to be looking up for Williams.

    1. Fireman says:

      Maybe not so straightforward but I’m sure it helped.

    2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Surely has to be, the ‘hidden’ pay driver way.

      Perhaps Massa looks more attractive to Brazilian sponsors who know he could have a crack at leading a team for the first time since 2008/09.

  7. Gaz Boy says:

    Well done Frank and Claire. At least some sort of financial security for the lads and lasses of Grove.
    Is this the start of a new era for Frank and Claire? Sponsorship from Martini and Petrobras, the streetwisem, savvy Pat Symonds guiding technical and aero departments; Vatty and Felipe driving duties with Felipe’s mate Big Rob joining soon – just the sort of straight talking no nosense Yorkshireman that they love in Grove – a powerful Merc V6 engine made just up the road in Brixworth and the shrewd team leadership of Claire.
    Williams to do some good business in 2014? All the elements are in place.
    Felippe and Vatty, over to you……….

    1. Nullius says:

      Vatty??

      Vazzer, surely. Bozzer, maybe. But not Vatty.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I thought Vatty was a good nick name as it ends in an ‘e’ sound like Heikki or Kimi……

    2. Longy says:

      Rob Smedley isn’t a Yorkshireman, he’s a smoggy!

      Apart from that good points ;)

    3. super seven says:

      I’m pretty sure Mr Smedley is a Geordie, and would not take kindly to being referred to as a Yorkshireman

      1. Scott D says:

        Not sure that someone from Middlesborough would take too kindly to being called a Geordie either!

      2. Scott D says:

        Sorry, “Middlesbrough!”

    4. Gaz Boy says:

      RE Longy and Super Seven: It says on Wikipedia that Big Rob was born and brought up in Normanby, which I always thought was in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire.
      Also, the surname Smedley does originate in God’s county, going back to the Danelaw period when Vikings ruled the North Sea coast of England and Scotland.
      Also, in Autocourse 2008 it refers to Big Rob as “Felipe Massa’s engineer was the straight talking Yorkshireman, Rob Smedley.”
      I’m pretty sure a Geordie is a native of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I can categorically say Big Rob isn’t from Newcastle.
      Don’t deny God’s country the right to call Big Ron one of their own!
      PS I bet Rob likes a pint of John Smiths over a glass of Munn champagne anyday……..

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Sorry, not Big Ron, I meant Big Rob! Not unless Macca boss Mr Dennis has been taking advantage of the catering depo at Woking…….

      2. Longy says:

        Pretty sure he’s from Middlesbrough – therefore being a “smoggy” in the local lingo!
        I think a couple of years ago he toured ‘boro schools to endorse F1 in schools competitions. I’m fairly sure, certainly sounds to my ear like a smoggy, anyone else care to wade in? (he’ll probably end up being from Penrith at this rate!)
        James?

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Fair points Longy. I think its fair to say Big Rob is a straight talking no nonsense bloke who calls a spade s spade.
        And they love that at Grove, so he will slot in easily.
        Shame Big Rob is not Felipe’s engineer anymore but I think he wants to get stuck into some aero work behind the scenes at Frank and Claire’s, so I think that’s the position he will be working in for the next few months. Along with Pat Symonds and Merc, the recruitment of Big Rob to Grove is a very savvy, shrewd move by Claire. I rate Claire very highly; she is very streetwise and in the F1 business you’re better off being savvy than bright but lacking common sense.
        Good luck to Frank, Claire, Big Rob and all te Grove squad for 2014!

  8. goferet says:

    I would like to think the turn in Williams fortunes is all down to new boss Claire Williams.

    Yes a woman’s touch is known to do wonders especially to a bachelor’s pad for look ever since Claire took over, the team got on board with a strong engine partner plus thanks to her public relations skills, the sponsors have begun rolling in and hey who knows, with Massa the team could have found a gem that just needed re-polishing.

    Anyway, am happy for the team recent successes and hope they have a good season.

    1. Agent Orange says:

      I’d have to agree. It’s either a huge coincidence or Claire Williams is having a big affect.

      Given every time I hear her interviewed I like what I hear I’d like to believe it’s because of her.

    2. HerrE says:

      Very much my own thoughts. And there might be more to come as Frank have hinted about negotiations with a sponsor situated in the middle east.
      Time to shine for Williams?

    3. JEZ Playense says:

      I would be ecstatic if Williams put it all together and stage a come back.

      Claires new energy and motivation, some renaissance Frank, Petrobas and Martini cash I can agree with.

      But seriously do we really think Massa will be enough? I don’t…

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Thats what Bottas is for.

      2. Random 79 says:

        He’s effectively the number one driver now (no more pulling over for someone else) which should make a huge difference to his confidence and attitude, and although it was a while back don’t forget he damn near won the WDC in 2008.

        A lot has happened since then, but I’m confident that if Williams gives him a good car – as it seems they may have – he’ll make the most of it.

        Best of luck to him :)

      3. goferet says:

        @ JEZ Playense

        You never know.

        You see some people just need a new environment or perhaps a less pressured surroundings in order to succed like what happened to Kimi at Lotus.

      4. Spectreman says:

        They needed an experienced driver, I very much doubt they could’ve hired someone better than Massa. And who knows? Maybe he’ll find his 2008 form back.

      5. chrisralph says:

        Fancy a punt? You could do a lot worse than Felipe this year. Quick, experienced, fired up with a new team and a MASSIVE point to prove. Scuse the pun, was not intended but I thought I’d let it ride…
        Might stick a quid on him for the early races before the Bulls get their act together, presuming they do.

      6. Agent Orange says:

        Depends on what you determine as “enough”. I’ll state right now I don’t rate Massa and consider him lazy, inconsistent and only puts in decent laps when pushed very hard or around contract negotiation time.

        But when he is motivated he’s definitely got something. Right now he seems motivated and refreshed with a new lease of life. He’s got something to prove because if Botta’s destroys him he’s finished.

        Enough to win races? I shouldn’t think so. But enough to score regularly and for the team to start looking up the grid rather than down? Very likely.

  9. Jose Sanchez kowalsky says:

    Feels like mclaren in 2007.

  10. Howard P says:

    Looking good for Williams, first started watching F1 when they were getting into their prime, so I do hope they return to the glory days.

  11. franed says:

    I have read that Petrobras are the prime candidate to pick up the rotting pieces of capital equipment from PDVSA in order to salvage the oil business for Venezuela. This is apparently because Venezuela is now in chaos, with the government having nationalised hundreds of businesses then basically screwed them up, causing breakdowns in supply of basic foods and commodities including toilet paper and fuel.
    PDVSA is the main source of US$ income but its infrastructure has not been maintained and is crumbling into the sea. Meanwhile it is thought that Venezuela could be sitting on one of the worlds biggest oil reservoirs (bigger than that of the Saudis and neighbours) but the means to access it will need to be bargained for, as I said probably with Petrobras. But the attitude of the post Chavez government will have to change or better still they could all leave.
    In F1 terms Williams is looking good, Lotus less so.

    1. JEZ Playense says:

      No one is going to leave the oil in the ground, no matter who the government of Venezuela is. If the Brazilians are the lucky ones to get the contracts, then congrats to them.

    2. I know says:

      The switch from PDVSA to Petrobras is definitely a step up for Williams. Whatever you think of Venezuela’s politics, sponsoring an F1 driver shouldn’t be a priority for its state-owned oil company. Yes, Petrobras is also partly state-owned, but at least they can claim that they get some marketing value in return. PDVSA, on the other hand, has no brand that it could possibly want marketing for, and its continuing involvement in F1 can only be explained by personal favouritism.

  12. On topic and perhaps this has already been covred somewhere, but in the broader perspective – what might be the reasons behind F-1 not adopting the use of completely renewable energy resources as with USAC Indy-type cars since way “back in the day?” Just thinking out loud.

    Maybe an article on this exists or perhaps it would be an interesting “technical” topic to explore?

    Thanks, James.

    1. I know says:

      Have you not noticed how many F1 races are held in the Gulf states alone, or how many principal sponsors of F1 are oil companies? F1 is always going to run on fossil fuels.

      1. Random 79 says:

        That’s cos it’s run by fossils :)

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Of course the German authorities may just change that if they decide Mr E should eat porridge at their pleasure…………

  13. Monza 01 says:

    I’m sure that every genuine F1 enthusiast wants to see Sir Frank’s team return to winning ways before he retires.

    Everything seems to be dropping into place : Probably the best engine on the grid with a long term deal to boot, great sponsorship and two good drivers.

    Let’s hope they reap the reward they so richly deserve.

  14. Chuck 32 says:

    My view of the New Formula 1 as seen the day before 1st Bahrain test
    First tier
    Red Bull – Anyone who bets against this team isn’t paying attention. Money, Engineering talent, Driver lineup, team leadership and enough budget.
    Mercedes and Ferrari developed the engine/chassis as an integrated unit. Should place them at the top of the field if they can capitalize on this advantage.
    McLaren – Enough brain power and budget to compete on level ground, good driver pairing, Eric on the pit wall, if the bodied rear suspension works they could be regulars on the podium.
    Second tier
    Force India, great driver lineup, Mercedes power. If the pit wall and back room match the driver talent this team will be tough to handle
    Williams – New money, Mercedes power and a strong driving pair. Will come down to implementation on Sunday.
    Sauber – Ferrari power may be the saving grace, Sutil back with Esteban remaining. Will lose tire advantage of late 2013.
    Toro Rosso, it appears they are coming more in line with the “Senior team.” Vergne will need all his experience and talent to hold off Kvyat.
    Lotus have lost Leadership, driver talent and still appear to have financial issues. If the novel E22 has some aero benefit they could take a random podium
    Third Tier
    Marussia – expect this team will see first points finish this year. Car could be solid platform for the driver/engineering team to advance
    Caterham – Getting stronger, still resource starved, Driver talent with Kobayashi and Frijns in the wings. ME must surprise to survive the year.

    OK friends, tell me why this doesn’t make sense.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Pretty accurate assessment I would say. However, lets nor forget the elephant in the corner………….that pesky ERS system which could turn the championship on its head. Get the ERS wrong, and no matter how quick you are, you aren’t going to finish.
      Phil and Kirstie’s new F1 show: Reliability, reliability, reliability………

  15. Gudien says:

    Early days. Rome wasn’t built in one day and Williams won’t be re-built in one season.

    On a side note does anyone seriously believe Felipe Massa, a driver incapable of putting an entire weekend together, is capable of leading Williams back to supremacy over an entire season? Just asking…..

    1. Chuck 32 says:

      YES.
      Massa and Bottas should make a very solid driver team. Felipe has a great deal of grit, came back from the head injury when many doubted him. He is smart and experienced – a combination these cars will require. Much will depend on the Williams race management Engineers ability to maximize the variables and communicate with the drivers. Focus on finishing, build the data base, that is why I think Massa is a major asset.

      1. Gudien says:

        You could be right however I seem to recall a certain Brazilian named Ruebens Barrichello whom was sold to us as possessing the same abilities as Massa.

        Can a driver, experienced or not really make a difference in developing a car in 2014? (Ex: Button at McLaren, Alonso at Ferrari, Hamilton at Merc).

    2. Steve Zodiac says:

      Now he’s out of Ferrari anything is possible. Personally I wish lots of luck.
      The trouble with Ferrari is they seem to either make you a star or make mincemeat of you

      1. Random 79 says:

        Much like Toro Rosso.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        They won at Monza 2008, then dropped off the radar!

    3. JEZ Playense says:

      Simple answer to a simple question, there is only a correct one word response, it has two letters, starting with N and finishing with O.

      1. Random 79 says:

        The might be the correct one word response, but the correct two word response is hell yes! :)

      2. chrisralph says:

        Sauce with your Humble Pie, sir?

  16. ben s says:

    ‘Multi year deal’… that phrase has crept into the general lexicon in F1 since Button signed his contract a few years ago. It drives me up the wall! Blasted corporate needlessness.

    1. Same for me…it’s too boring.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Alternatives?

      2. LOL…

        Random 79, not mention that ‘boring thing’?

      3. Longy says:

        Hyper annual contract

      4. Random 79 says:

        “Hyper annual contract” – I like it :)

  17. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    Imagine if Williams do better than the works Merc team. Wonder if Williams are at all worried about stories of Toto saying the Merc relationship with McLaren may need looked into?

    I realise it was being said because of Macca’s impending switch to Honda, but it’s still a worrying statement from Merc to a customer no matter how it is put, isn’t it?

  18. Jonathan Cooper says:

    I’m expecting good things from Williams this year. Ferrari was a downer on Felipe, but with a new team he will shine. He had some very potent races last season, putting Alonso to shame at points (until he was told to move over).

    Magnussen is looking the part too. It’ll be interesting to see what he achieves this year, then 2015 with Honda power will be either make or break.

    ScarbsF1 seems to believe RB might be with limited ERS-K for the remainder of testing and Australia …

    Nice to see RB are finally out on track though, post crisis meeting:
    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/73079000/jpg/_73079033_redbull20.jpg

  19. Rob says:

    Maybe they are hoping Massa will be DC to Bottas’ Vettel?

  20. fox says:

    Petrobras bought a seat for Massa, obviously.

  21. Gerard says:

    In Australia all fuel is expensive we are paying $1.66 per litre at the pump. Water though is far more expensive at nearly $2:00 per litre

    1. Random 79 says:

      Really makes you wonder…

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