Williams deal for Maldonado sponsor PDVSA

2011 F1 season

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PDVSA logos on the Williams at the demonstration run in Caracas

Williams has announced a major sponsorship deal with Venezuelan state petroleum company PDVSA.

The agreement was announced at a demonstration run in Caracas attended by president Hugo Chavez.

The team’s car and drivers’ overalls will feature the logos of PDVSA, which is already a personal sponsor of new driver Pastor Maladonado.

Team principal Frank Williams said:

We are very grateful to PDVSA for having joined our team. They are a substantial partner and can make a meaningful difference to our fighting ability. We are honoured that our new partnership was announced in Venezuela today while showing Pastor’s fans the power of a Formula One car.

We are especially honoured that President Chavez himself witnessed the demonstration. On behalf of the team, we very much look forward to working with PDVSA and Venezuela and giving them some good results on track.
Frank Williams

Image courtesy of Williams via Twitter

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Keith Collantine
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86 comments on “Williams deal for Maldonado sponsor PDVSA”

  1. We are very grateful to PDVSA for having joined our team.

    They are very grateful to PDVSA for having saved their team.

    1. So very true, that next line shows it:

      They are a substantial partner and can make a meaningful difference to our fighting ability.

      – translation: without their money we would have been able to just build the car and then start working on next years car without a penny spent on in season development.

    2. I think this announcement is the closest thing to honesty we’ve had from Williams about Pastor. “Very grateful” is exactly what they are, and they should be, that’s the commercial reality of the sport.

      The problem I’ve had with Williams’ handling of all this isn’t dropping Hulkenberg, or parachuting in Pastor, or talking on PDVSA. It’s that all the while, they’ve continued to put up the face that they’re doing it for competitive reasons. They still believe that they’re the same Williams of 1996, and they’re not.

      It was always transparent that this team needed money, couldn’t get sponsorship contracts renewed, and needed regeneration. The Nakajima deal could be passed off as a case of “well all the other engines are locked to the teams they’re in so we’re stuck.” Had Pastor not been so comprehensively trashed by Nico the year before, the “downgrade” would have been less obvious. They are a midfield team who need to kowtow to the sponsors. The sooner they come out and accept this, the better. Treating fans like fools won’t do them any favours.

      1. do you also beleive that Ferarri also kowtow to Santander when they sacked Kimi and paracuted Alonso in?

        1. errr… Alonso was comprehensively thrashed by Kimi was he? I think Alonso is an upgrade on the cant-be-bothered Kimi.

      2. Mr Hairs, you will need to bone up a little on the problems of getting sponsorship money for anything these days. You don’t get sponsors by kowtowing and I fail to see how they’ve treated ‘fans’ like fools – this isn’t football mate..

        Just be glad they’re still here fighting. I’m quite sure that when Frank ran his team from a phonebox because he couldn’t afford an office, he made it sound like a marble palace to potential sponsors otherwise….curtains. Also remember that Williams Grand Prix Engineering does not only exists for racing – it is a very clever company that performs all kinds of high tech engineering work for the automotive industry inlcuding some of their more vaunted F1 grid competitors. It’s not that they are short of money, Frank has never believed in paying for the team out of his own pocket, like some other F1 teams with the exception of teams like Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India. Above all, Frank Williams is a pure racer and F1 is enhanced by his presence.

  2. see chavez isn’t all bad!

    1. He is bad, don’t doubt it for a second, I live in South America and I know what he is doing with his country. He is EXTREMELY bad, the fact the government’s main revenue maker (PDVSA) is spending money on F1 deals, when there are 40% of the population below poverty line and there are thousands of people that just have lost their houses to the tropical storms, says a lot. F1 watchers are not PDVSA’s market, Chavez is just wasting more money on their personal ego affairs. Let’s hope Maldonado in fact has something to add to the F1 world besides his fellow countrymen money.

      1. F1 watchers are not PDVSA’s market, Chavez is just wasting more money on their personal ego affairs

        Yeah, that’s how I see it too. He seems to have quite an ego from the things I’ve heard of him. I’d rather see Williams flounder and the money being put to good use in Venezuela

        1. I’m surprised you haven’t mention the fact that he banned ‘The Simpsons’: http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Simpsons-Banned-in-Venezuela-82905.shtml

    2. Just like Poetin is helping Petrov.

      I guess F1 attracts ruthless dictators :)

      1. That’s the thing, people see sponsor’s logos and think F1 is capitalist … but the underlying trend has definitely been a tendency to the fascist.

        And I use that in the correct sense of the word.

        Authoritarian regimes, “strong leaders”, state financed corporatism, state-sponsored infrastructure projects, and rampant zealous nationalism. Sounds a lot like F1, no wonder Bernie expresses admiration for dicators of the past that “got things done”.

        The anti-individualist arguments offered-up in support of team-orders, expressly for the good of the broader collective, make a lot more sense when viewed like that. You’ll note, I haven’t even gone near the way the FIA used to be run.

        That’s why it is perhaps such an easy, frictionless fit for some of the countries and regimes it likes to visit, and why it attracts obvious interest from characters like Putin or Chavez.

        Out of all the political-economic ideologies out there, if you had to match one to F1, Fascism, would easily be the most appropriate.

        1. yeah i hear these comments about Chavez and probably is mostly true, though i do applaud him for standing up to the US and the global banking cartels, hes given Venezuela a future and even though hes quite fascist in a overt kind of way its really no different to the sanitised media run byt the global banking elite that the rest of the world suffers.

          and to this end, to try and exclude Cahvez in playing the game against all the other greedy megalomaniacs wouldnt be fair, let him go up against them i say and hopefully is brave stance can beat them at their sneaky sly corporate bully tactics…

          F1 is a hotbed of greed and self interest and the sport has been hijacked by the money men with Bernie the king pig in the stye.

          basically F1 is a sport and should be run as a sport by sportsmen. but like most of the world it has been stolen by the financial king pins who run it as a business and for some like a personal toy to suit their egos. this is the way the world is and shouldnt really be a surprise or we dont need to bother denying it. all the govts in the world serve the banks and corporations not the people, and F! is not different.

          in a just and evolved world sport would be run as a sport, by the sportsmen and women and the bankers would be in service to that, not the other way around. its a sad state of affairs.

          in the meantime we have to deal it this corporate control and they do an Ok job at the sport, but we all know it could be managed and run a LOT better.

          so lets see if the greedy corporate pigs and the egos will hold on to their power much longer, and maybe we can get some genuine sport back…

  3. I see the usual Williams blue and white here – but there’s also gold in the PDVSA logo and Maldonado’s overalls. Since this is an FW32, it’s by no means the final car, much less the final livery, so hopefully there will be gold worked into the blue and white for the FW33. Which will look awesome. I think 2011 will have one of the best-looking grids ever.

    1. I’m surprised Ferrari haven’t complained about there being four lotus’ on the grid. :)

      1. Ferrari would only complain about there being four Lotus-es on the grid if being a Lotus car actually made the car go faster.

        I had this horrible dream the night of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Alonso won the championship when Ferrari got Red Bull disqualified because they won the race …

        1. PM if you’re waking up in a cold sweat after a dream that Alonso won the 2010 WDC then you’re letting Ferrari get to you a bit too much. :P

          1. Well, I also had an exam the next day. Might have had someting to do with it.

          2. Maldonando’s overalls could hold hints of new livery. We won’t know until first race of the season as Williams will use a special testing livery.

          3. a return to a Rothmans-esque livery maybe?

          4. We won’t know until first race of the season as Williams will use a special testing livery.

            They might not. If they have a new livery to launch then maybe they’ll do it at the car presentation.

          5. Ooh, yeah. I see a lot of Rothmans style in that suit. I would definitely not mind seeing a return of that scheme! Anything’s better than the plain white and blue in predictably lines and patterns.

          6. Definitely looks like it could be a Rothmans-esque livery, which would be a definite improvement from recent years’ navy and white only…

          7. Hope you’re exam went well PM.

            Williams jazzing up the livery a bit would be welcome news. It’s very dull with just the blue and white.

          8. They might not. If they have a new livery to launch then maybe they’ll do it at the car presentation.

            Traditionally, they don’t. They usually have a new livery for each season, even if it’s just a variation on the dark blue and white that had become their trademark of late. Williams will run an interim test livery, with the final season livery being revealed at the first Grand Prix.

          9. If I had a prostate exam the next day, I’d wake up in a cold sweat whatever I was dreaming about.

      2. you are all joking with ferrari, when mclaren was the one that complained about the ferraris and redbulls wings, and whitmarsh said recently that presenting the car late was an strategy

      3. Well, they haven’t complained about there being 4 Red Bulls as yet!

        1. Then again, Red Bull aren’t a car company like Ferrari and Lotus. :)

          Off topic, I love the idea that 3 car company’s sponsor Lotus Renault (Lada). It’s worst that BMW Sauber Ferrari.

          If I wanted my Lotus Renault (Lada) to go faster, I’d remove the (Lada) sticker :)

          ( cruel I know, and total-ly uncalled for )

    2. Those pics of Maldonado in overall are nice gabal. I wouldn’t mind there being some gold/yellow trim here and there to break up the white/blue.

      The blue seems a bit darker than usual to me, but maybe that is just the light? The pattern on the engine cover also seems a bit more defined to me, but perhaps that too is just because there are no other sponsor logo’s on the sidepods (yet).

    3. I see no gold in the PDVSA logo, it’s plain red.
      This is just another sponsor, albeit a big one, to replace the outgoing Phillips & RBS.
      A good move I would say, a very large oil company sponsoring a driver & F1 team, makes sense to me, why wouldn’t it.

      As for other posts about the state of the country/poverty etc, is irrelevant to F1 or PDVSA as a business. Other countries are in similar situations (Brazil,Turkey,Russia) and I see no complaints about them.

      Congrats to Williams for securing this deal, yes they do need the money, just like every other team needs money.

      1. I see no gold in the PDVSA logo, it’s plain red.
        Look at the logo on the engine cover. Red on dark blue doesn’t work – so they’ve outlined it with gold.

        1. That’s a white background, outlining a red logo on my computer, yours must be a fancy model that adds gold.

    4. RBS were the reason williams were blue and white recently. now they’re gone, we could see something totally different!

  4. Asi es como llega el comunismo en su máxima expresión a la Formula 1.


    1. Charles Carroll
      15th January 2011, 16:51

      Communism is a failure and Chav is a despot.

    2. I don’t think its communism Perro Loco, its F1 therefore its capitalistic, the antithesis of communismo or communism.

  5. I wonder if Frank will get into drug trafficking.

    1. The Colombians are the drug traffickers. The Venezuelans are the socialists. They share a border and a language and probably the odd militant group in the southern reaches that are so isolated it’s pretty much impossible to enforce the border, but Venezuela is only home to very small-scale opium and coca operations, and most of them are run by the aforementioned milita groups.

      1. The Colombian rebels that control most of the drug trade have suspiciously strong links with Venezuela. Remember about mid 2010 there were strong talks between the two countries as Colombian forces had moved very close to the Venezuelan border, trying to shut down one of the drug cartels..Venezuela may not produce much of its own drugs, but it does have a strong link the the Colombian trade, one which Chavez likes to maintain as it de-stabilises America’s closest ally in the region.

  6. *sigh* Williams is a mere shadow of it’s former self. Of course Pastor was nothing to do about the money if we remember Andrew Parr correctly. It’s sad what Williams has become.

    1. What would you prefer, that Williams take Barrichello and Hulkenberg and run without any sponsors, jeopardising their entire future on the notion that sponsors will magically fall out of the sky before them?

      1. Like everyone I think he understands why Williams have done it but that its a tragedy that the once dominant team in F1 has to make driver choices on the basis of who’ll bring in more backing rather than who’ll do a better job on track

        1. I agree with you Ads, it is a shame but we’ll have to wait and see what next season brings for them.

          Pastor may well do a great job. He is the GP2 champion, you don’t get to be champion if you ain’t a good driver. And the fact that he’s been in GP2 for four years may have given him time to hone is race craft.

          I hope he does do well because I’m getting a little bit sick of this revolving door of drivers.

        2. I agree, a necessary evil.

      2. Yes, I would prefer that.

        1. And the fact that he’s been in GP2 for four years may have given him time to hone is race craft.

          Arghhh, ever since Brundle mentioned race craft everyone seems to say it. Sigh…

    2. Actually, I think it’s a rung in the ladder to what Williams are becoming. They’ve floundered around a bit, but they look to be squaring up nicely. They had too evenly matched drivers for much of last year in terms of times, so having some money from one and some experience from the other seems to work. We can judge Pastor on how close he holds to Rubens tail. But they need the cash.

      I think it’s a very sensible choice personally. If Pastor does a Vitali it might not seem to sensible, but if Pastor continues to do a Vitali and brings in more money.. sign him up for another few years! See if we can get Rubens on the podium! :)

  7. Calum posted a link to more pictures in the roundup to yesterday. https://www.racefans.net/2011/01/14/mclaren-and-alonso-say-proximity-wing-will-work/comment-page-2/#comment-546067

    Those overalls look pretty good with a yellow stripe fitted in between the white and blue. If they do something similar to the livery, it might look great again.

  8. I understand that a lot of people got upset for Maldonaldo replacing Hulkenberg, but it’s not the first time that Williams hires a pay driver lately, isnt it?
    Unless I am gravely mistaken, I doubt that Nakajima got his Williams seat on merit…

  9. he is much better package than hulk. more exciting overall

    1. he’s got more exciting overalls? I think that’s just a lick of gold trim..

      1. LOL, I like the overalls! Looks a lot more interesting than just plain white with Navy bule.

  10. Its bad enough when drivers come are chosen due to more sponsorship backing rather than ability. But when a driver is being shoe-horned into one of my favourite teams by a tin-pot South American dictator, to replace a driver who showed so much promise its quite hard to stomach.

    Maldonado may go on to do a good job at Williams, but I loathe the fact that he’s only got the nod over Hulkenberg because he comes from a country with a dictator willing to throw millions of dollars behind him.

    1. F1 never has had much problem accepting money from potentially bad people, as long as it wasn’t too much trouble – the tobacco companies aren’t saints either, and going to SA during the apartheid period wasn’t an ethical problem for all.

      Yeah, it isn’t pretty, but Maldonado does know how to drive – I found Huelkenberg a bit dissapointing after all the 2009 hype about him. Let’s just see if Maldonado does better than Nakajima.

      1. I agree, there have always been those involved in F1 who lacked morals. Hülkenberg was very disappointing after all the hype, until the end of the season where he put in some fantastic drives and two incredible qualifying laps. Too little too late I guess.

    2. which would you prefer, Maldonado in a Williams, or no Williams at all?

      1. don’t get me wrong Williams are doing the right thing for the survival of the team, I just hate that its come to this

        1. Yes, with that I can agree – although to be honest, I already felt like that when Williams singed Nakajima for a second season, clearly linked to that engine contract – his 2008 season wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t very good either. So I suppose that by now I have been getting used to the idea.

  11. Even if we all feel that Williams sold a bit of their soul for much needed cash, it is good that these teams now realise the importance of such demonstration runs – they are good for the sponsors (an immediate bit of publicity to show for their money, so a sign of good will from the team too!) and good for the team and F1 as well.

    I hope that bigger sponsors will be able to show off the cars they sponsor more often in the future.

  12. I presume that they will use PDVSA lubricants and fuel in the forthcoming season?

    Despite the politics surrounding the release of Hulkenberg and hiring of Maldonano, Williams at long last have got a title sponsor who is willing to part with decent amounts of money to keep the team funded.

  13. This news has shocked and astounded me so much that I’m now dead. Williams sign a Venezuelan driver (who we all know is definitely not a pay driver) and then a few weeks later sign a major Venezuelan sponsor. What a coincidence!

    1. Would have been sad though had it not come, wouldn’t it? Not-choosing Maldonado for the money, and then not getting any money either ;-)

    2. It’s a real shame but it was sad to see you suffer without Maude, Ned :) Rest in peace-diddly-eace

  14. How come there is no mention of CITGO anywhere?

    Makes more sence to put a CITGO and PDVSA on the cars.

    1. Because they’d have to run Milka…not that I’d mind too much- she’s pretty easy on the eyes.

      1. And apparently she is often going slow enough that you can observe her being pleasant in the car? I think I would prefer a fast driver to her, myself.

  15. Sponsors are a major part of F1, but I wonder how much revenue each deal brings to the team. What will this major sponsorship deal bring to Williams? How much better can they make their performance from the extra cash? I hope to see them do well this season

    1. id say williams has done a good job to get this deal, i dont think Hulkenberg was that great, you know he isnt a hamilton or a schumacher on early form at least, so not enough to hold onto him.

      and schumacher himself was a paydriver sponsered by mercedes at first so i dont see the big deal here. maldonado is a champion lets see what he can do, williams went for smart package, with the venezuelan tie in, i just hope they can show some engineering genius and take some risks now…

      i still see they have a subservient and average technical staff. Head should either take back the reigns compleltey or get out altoegther…

  16. Being a Venezuelan (and living there as well), I am glad that Maldonado got the drive, but I am sickened by the prospect of having to deal with additional F1-enhanced government propaganda on a day to day basis. Ugh.

    Agreed with Ads21.

    1. I’m surprised to see another Venezuelan in here.
      nice tough

  17. Charles Carroll
    15th January 2011, 16:54

    I would rather have no Williams (and no other rag tag outfits) instead of having pay drivers and dictators in the sport.

    1. So a driver who has demonstrated talent in the lower formulae – because no matter how big your bank balance, you still need to be talented enough to qualify for a Superlicence before a team will sign you up – should not be allowed to race if his sponsors are a national oil company from a socialist state?

      How is that even remotely fair? It’s like saying Russia and China should not have Grands Prix because they have a poor track record with human rights, despite the fact that human rights have absolutely no influence over the running of a Grand Prix.

      1. Saying Maldonado has displayed talent is like saying Bobby George displayed talent in 1994 – when all the best darts players defected to form the their own league. Franhly, when Romain Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi are better than you, it doesn’t look good for you.

        1. Grosjean was competing for the GP2 championship, and struggled in Formula 1. Kobayashi was struggling in GP2, but regularly scores points in Formula 1. So while GP2 might be the strongest indicator of a driver’s talent, it is by no means gospel truth.

    2. I love that you think Williams is a rag tag outfit. What a horrendously ignorant thing to say.

  18. I think if anything proves the need for three-car teams, this would be it.

    As much as I hope the money propels Williams back into “best of the rest” performances and from there back to winners and as much as I realise the necessity of it all, it still niggles and disappoints me that a true racing team like Williams would sell themselves in this way. Maybe if teams had three cars then a pay driver would be an acceptable luxury, because there would always be two seats free for talent (I don’t mean Hulkenburg, because I know he refused them).

    1. If you’re going to have three-car teams, and there’s only twenty-four grid places,then you can only have eight teams. That means culling four of them. Likewise, you can’t have an option of running a third car with the grid being decided by the twenty-four fastest because then teams that have a right to race – like Virgin, Lotus and Hispania – will not be able to compete simply because they cannot spend as much money as the other teams, and they will quickly die because sponsors won’t want to pay if they’re not getting exposure and the ban on testing stops them from getting any better.

      The only solution would be to make third cars optional (in case someone like Hispania cannot afford a third car) and expand the grid to thirty-six places, but then you’d have events like Monaco that can’t sustain that many cars (even if the likes of Shanghai and Abu Dhabi can). The reason why the Concorde Agreement allows for a maximum of twenty-six cars is because that is the most cars that the smallest circuit can cater to.

  19. The title of this article should have been: ‘Bear decides to defaecate in a wood’

  20. Looks like this deal will be for 5 years for $36millions per season, so a big total of $180millions for PDVSA in Williams car… Santander is paying $40millions for Ferrari per year, same 5 years deal for a big number of $200millions investment. Being a country so corruptly i will guess from those 36 “payed” by PDVSA, only the half will land in Williams team, the rest will befor the people who helped!!

  21. WOW, Hugo Chavez a ruthless dictator?

    – Did he get to be president by force?
    – Has he censored the Internet like the leaders of other countries in F1?
    – Has he banned political parties that oppose him?
    – Has he assassinated people or political opponents?

    The answer to all that is NO !!!


    – Did Chavez get to the presidency via the ballot box in internationally monitored elections?
    – Is the local private media there able to criticize his government?
    – Is there a Congress in Venezuela with opposition parties present?
    – Did he reduce poverty by more than half?
    – Is there uncensored Internet access used to criticize his government?
    (See UNESCO Awards Venezuela for Providing Free Access to Internet – http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/5931)
    The answer to all that is YES !!!

    So how come he is a dictator?

    Oh wait !!!

    – Did he gain a lot of corporate opposition due to ending handouts and tax breaks for the rich?
    – Did he stared standing up to foreign corporate powers especially from the US, who used to extract their oil while leaving them with little share of the profits?
    – Did he kick the IMF out of Venezuela?

    Yes, yes, yes !! that’s why Chavez is a dictator, because the corporate media and the US say so, right?

    Chavez might be wacky, controversial and “un poco loco”, but dictator?

    WilliamsF1’s Adam Parr just said this from his several recent Venezuela trips “Getting to know Venezuela over the past few months has been a revelation. We have been given the warmest possible welcome. We have also learnt a great deal”

    “We have also learnt a great deal?” Yes, because if they only went by what is said about the country in the media, then they would not have made any deals with state-owned PDVSA.

    So, perhaps folks should actually go there and see with their own eyes to see if there is a dictatorship going on there.

    Now, lets see here… which presidents, or leaders of the following countries with prominent F1 presence are democratically elected via internationally supervised elections?

    1. China
    2. Malaysia
    3. Abu Dhabi
    4. Bahrain

    Answer: NONE !!!

    All of these countries are real dictatorships where political opponents cannot form political parties and the media is 100% controlled by the state. But why don’t they receive bad press? because the openly welcome corporations and are not hostile to the United Sates or to western corporate powers.

    But who is the tin-pot South American dictator? Chavez, of course !!

    There is kind of a double standard going on here, I think.

    At the end of the day, though, lets judge Maldonado based on his driving abilities.

    1. ..raw nerve anyone? That’s the beauty of the internet… you go an state something, then someone with a truck load more knowledge comes over and runs you over for it. :)

      Personally, I LOVE Venezuela :)

  22. While I don’t want to get dragged into an argument, I think meteoro makes some valid points.

    Venezuela is certainly not the only country in f1 with issues to deal with. It is interesting to sinhle out one country for moral outrage.

    Can you tell me that in the breakup of the soviet union all of the companies were broken up fairly or to a small minority of now super rich oligarchs? Can you tell me china has a spotless human rights record?

    And I also would like to see Maldonado be quick just to shut up some of the armchair experts. Kamui kobayashi wasn’t that special I’m gp2 but look at him now.

  23. The socialist are the real capitalist in disguise. Look at China and Russia reputation these days….BLOSSOM

  24. We were sorry to see a dictator like Chavez involved in F1.But happy to see Williams get the money they need.Wise F1 fans that comment here prove that you cant hide behind a list of initials and maybe that will shine light on Chavez wrongdoing. The whole intent of our fund is to make it easy for fans of F1 to own a share of the companies that sponsor F1, and share in the financial success of those sponsors. Maybe the fitting justice is our money going to his competitors like TOTAL, Exxon, and Petrobras. Capitalism has brought down more than one tyrannical regime.

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