The Star’s interview with Petronas boss Tan Sri Hassan Merican reveals that the national oil company’s will not involve itself as an F1 team sponsor next year, which should end rumors that Petronas would step in to sponsor the new Lotus F1 Racing team.
Here’s what the man himself said:
Petronas started F1 as a branding programme but we have since moved into the business. We had a very good relationship with Sauber that exposed our brand and gave us the opportunity to go global with our lubricants. It’s also timely when BMW took over Sauber and that gave us an opportunity to partner with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The years we were together with BMW and Sauber we benefited from the lubricant business. Petronas now has a 2% share of the global lubricants market while also being an OEM lubricant supplier to the Fiat Group. Next year, we have no team and the only reason for us to go back into Formula 1 is on a business deal, for the lubricant business.
But I think we Malaysians are so used to anything being possible that many will still sit up straight and look out for any inkling that Petronas would step in as a sponsor for Tony Fernandes and SM Nasarudin’s Malaysian team. Tony had previously said that the team would love Petronas to sponsor them at the sidelines of the Singapore GP this year.