There have been a few interesting stories from GMM and Crash.net today that suggest Petrobras’s announcement earlier this week was to quickly denounce rumors that they were trumping up Honda F1 and promoting Bruno Senna as part of the deal. Now this original rumor may have been a grand game of connect the dots with Brazilian driver and Brazilian company by some creative journo’s but Petrobras jumped on it like it was on fire.
This week the wily chaps at Crash.net sought out some insight into the Petrobras dousing of the the Honda rumor. They were not disappointed:
‘Petrobras clarifies that it is still interested in participating in Formula 1. However, the press has published some information regarding the company’s performance in this racing category. Notwithstanding, these stories had no interviews with or statements made by the sports endorsement management or by any other company representative.
‘The interest in partnering with a team remains, as long as it is possible to develop and provide high-quality and high-tech Petrobras fuels and lubricants.
‘The purpose of Petrobras’ motor sports programme is to seek to provide company consumers with benefits, using auto racing as a product development lab. In this performance line, on account of its ties with technological progress, Formula 1 has always had a singular role.
‘Petrobras re-asserts the information contained in the press release it sent on 02/12, in which it denies the veracity of the rumours that have spread in the media regarding the former Honda team having hired driver Bruno Senna via an endorsement provided by Petrobras.
‘The company clarifies it does not have an agreement signed with Honda, or with a future team yet to be formed, for the 2009 Formula 1 season. It also reiterates that pursuant to the guidelines set forth by the Petrobras Motor Sports Programme, it does not endorse individual drivers.’
Now, let’s unpack this shall we? Reaction time is a factor so please pay attention…
Petrobras has removed itself from the BBF1/Senna rumor but where there is smoke there is fire. I suppose Crash may be on target suggesting that Nick Fry had something to do with the milk souring and Petrobras backing out thus prompting Nick to re-heat the Virgin/Branson interest/bid. Okay, so Crash may be right but what happened? Nick was too presumptuous with his assuring Honda that Petrobras was on board with Senna? Only to find out that Petrobras doesn’t sponsor backmarkers?
If Petrobras is correct, they only want a presence in F1 with a top team who has a potential to further their interest and help develop their products. BBF1 would, on paper, not seem to be that team. They also say they don’t sponsor drivers and suggest they would not support a future team which could be taken as BBF1’s new face under new management or USF1 for that matter.
I have one word for Petrobras…Renault!
I also surmise that whomever purchases BBF1 will be parting ways with Nick Fry and the Magic 8-ball within a year or sooner. Nick may be working his tail off to save the team but at this point I think he becomes a liability. Honda can manage the sale of their team, the new owner can be CEO and Ross Brawn is fully capable of being Ross Brawn. Role for Nick? None! It’s his soul we’re talking about here and if he values the people of BBF1, he may think about the package not including himself if that sweetens the pot.