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McLaren’s Petrobras deal comes under scrutiny

The future of Petrobras’ sponsorship deal with Formula One motor-racing team McLaren has come under further doubt after Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, claimed that he has directed that the oil company end the partnership.

Reports in Brazil last week indicated that Brazilian authorities were seeking to end the relationship agreed in February 2018, with Bolsonaro pouring further fuel onto the fire on Friday evening via his account on social media platform Twitter.

Bolsonaro said: “In 2018 Petrobras signed an advertising contract of R$782m (€170.9m/$190.6m) with McLaren, valid for five years. At the moment, the company, by decision of my government, seeks a way to terminate the contract.”

The agreement, which commenced this year, focuses on the development of high-performance fuel and lubricants. As part of the deal, the length of which was not disclosed at the time, Petrobras branding appears on the team’s cars, uniforms and physical facilities. Petrobras is a majority state-owned company.

Bolsonaro’s announcement marks his latest intervention in F1 business in Brazil. Earlier this month, he claimed the country’s annual Formula One race will move to Rio de Janeiro in 2020, while promoters for its current home in Interlagos, São Paulo, said they were confident of extending their current deal.