Williams to lose PDVSA sponsorship

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Williams have confirmed they will lose the backing of Venezuelan state petroleum firm PDVSA after arranging to replace Pastor Maldonado at the team next year.

Maldonado will lose his seat to Felipe Massa, who is joining the team from Ferrari. The team have run PDVSA logos on their cars since hiring Maldoando in 2011.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams told Reuters that PDVSA’s logos “won’t be on the car for next year”.

“There is no [further] connection with PDVSA as obviously Pastor is now leaving the team.”

Williams intend to exploit sponsorship opportunities in Brazil after hiring Massa. “We’ve been operating and looking for sponsorship in the Brazilian market for a long time now, we’ve had great Brazilian partners in the past,” said Williams. “So we will be going out to Brazil to see what we can do out there.”

Recent Brazilian drivers to race for Williams include Bruno Senna (2012) and Rubens Barrichello (2010 to 2011).

Whether Maldonado will continue to receive backing from PDVSA following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez earlier this year has been a source of speculation. The sponsorship of Venezuelan racing drivers including IndyCar pilot EJ Viso was also placed in doubt following a controversy over the misuse of funds last month.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
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Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”