Maldonado Expects to be Unaffected as Venezuela Looks to Cut Sponsorship in Motorsport

By Community | May 23, 2014

With Venezuela’s new sports minister set to cut the country’s financial support for motor racing, F1 driver Pastor Maldonado believes the new policy will not affect his race seat at Lotus.

Maldonado has long been supported, either directly or indirectly, by Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant PDVSA. 

Since Maldonado entered F1, PDVSA have provided sponsorship, initially to his maiden team Williams and now current marque Lotus, understood to be around £27million per year.

But in light of Venezuela’s current financial crisis, sports minister Antonio Alvarez has categorically stated “there will not be another dollar for motorsport”.

Alvarez added: “It is unfair to use state money in disciplines that do not contribute to the development of sport in this country.”

Alvarez’s comments come in light of a currency scam that has engulfed motor racing in Venezuela, with at least five drivers involved.

It is understood the drivers have been earning considerable sums by manipulating Venezuela’s strict controls on currency exchange.

Maldonado, however, insists neither he nor PDVSA are affected as he said: “The sports minister is not sponsoring me, and PDVSA is not part of his programme. They are separate.

“The oil company doesn’t talk about sponsorship in Formula One. This was a communication from the sport minister, and that’s it.

“The ministry of sport does not support Formula One, but they were sponsoring a lot of drivers before.

“Last year this had a big impact on motorsport because most of these drivers were apparently taking money from the government.”