Although I am of the opinion that money spent on Formula 1 can be spent on something else, but it comes to Petronas and Formula 1, it may be a different story (as long as no public funds slips in)
“Petronas signs with Mercedes GP – words fail me,” former Minardi ace Yoong, now heading up Lotus’ driver development programme, wrote on his personal Twitter page. “Mercedes is a good team, no doubt, but what Lotus is doing is completely ground-breaking and brave – and Petronas not seeing that fills me with shame.”
Interestingly the same site also reports:-
The news also represents a worrying development for Lotus F1, with sources close to Crash.net suggesting that the funding behind the Norfolk-based outfit is looking increasingly shaky and insecure.
Anyway, let’s look at Petronas’ decision to sponsor 2009’s Mercedes GP Formula 1 team. Despite we not knowing the actual amount sponsored (reported to be 30 million Euros per year), Petronas made the right move sponsoring the Mercedes Benz GP instead of Lotus F1 team.
(The green colored sponsor panel is back on a Mercedes Benz. Image source: Paul Tan)
For one, it shows that Petronas being a profit driven company not necessary have to abide by all those deemed in support of a national venture. It has to put its money when it can reap the best return on its investment. Just because Lotus F1 seems to be headed by “Malaysians”, it does not mean Petronas has to tie his eyes and put in money for sponsorship.
Of course, when it comes to Formula 1, there is little room to regain the investment in form of profit (some even say that that the brand Petronas does not fit the German team) but as in the case of Sauber Petronas and BMW in the past, collaboration with Mercedes GP will be an interesting one especially with the exposure that Petronas is expected to get and opportunity for further research and development in lubricants and fuel additives.
And second, see who is going to drive for Mercedes Benz in 2010 – the very slick and renowned former world champion, Michael Schumacher. This is more so when Michael Schumacher is coming out from an early retirement and is going to race for the 2010.
This means the camera and everyone’s focus is going to be on the Schumacher more of the time than on Lotus F1 drivers (unless they make a big impact on their first year). That also means a prolonged exposure to Petronas brand globally.