Formula One team McLaren has agreed by mutual consent to terminate its technical and sponsorship deal with Brazilian Oil company Petrobras.
The news was imminent after Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, tweeted on October 20 his intention to end the deal as he called it “an absurdity committed on the taxpayer by the previous government”. The company is 64-per-cent government owned.
21- Determinação do Presidente Bolsonaro, a Petrobras cancelou o contrato de patrocínio de R$ 872 milhões com a equipe de Fórmula 1 – McLaren. Um absurdo cometido com o contribuinte por governo anterior. Dinheiro do pagador de impostos sendo aplicado onde necessário.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) October 20, 2019
The five-year contract had been set to run until 2023 but has now concluded prematurely due to Bolsonaro’s objections.
In his tweets, he cited its value to be R$872m ($212m/€190m) however industry experts have expressed scepticism at the figure.
Both parties agreed the tie-up had been a productive one in terms of technological innovation in fuels and lubricants.
Roberto Castello Branco, chief executive of Petrobras, didn’t rule out future collaboration between the two organisations. He said: “We see in McLaren a commitment to innovation and also the possibility of future partnerships.”