McLaren look set to lose their fuel supplier and major sponsor Petrobras after Brazilian president Jair M Bolsonaro said the company want out.
The British manufacturer signed a deal with Petrobras, who are owned by the Brazilian government, in 2018 to become the team’s official fuel and lubricant supplier in a deal thought to be worth £150 million over five years.
Although the team are believed to receive less than half of that amount, with the rest of the funds going into research and development for Petrobras, it would still prove a bitter blow for McLaren who are enjoying their best start to a season in recent memory – P4 in the Constructors’ Championship after five rounds.
“In 2018, Petrobras signed an advertising contract of R$782 million with McLaren, valid for 5 years. At the moment, the company, by decision of my government, seeks a way to terminate the contract,” the president tweeted.
“It does not make the slightest sense, it’s an absurdity, it’s not worth it having the little name on the helmet,” Brazil’s minister of citizenship, Osmar Terra, told Radar.
Less than 18 months into the five-year deal, any exit from the contract would likely carry a heavy financial penalty for Petrobras.