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Williams to lose PDVSA sponsorship

Nov 12, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of India - Qualifying Getty Images

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.