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Brundle: Maldonado unaffected by Chavez death

Demise of Venezuelan president shouldn't cast doubts on Spanish GP winner's deal with Williams, according to Martin Brundle.

Pastor Maldonado's backing from Venezuela should remain intact, despite the recent death of president Hugo Chavez.

Maldonado's deal with the team, which gave him his F1 opportunity on the back of him clinching the 2010 GP2 Series title, has always hinged on the strength of the sponsorship provided by state-owned oil company PDVSA and, with Chavez having been a strong personal advocate of Maldonado's career, the president's death also has the potential to derail it, particularly as his United Socialist party could lose power when new elections are held next month.

Despite the speculation, however, Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle believes that Maldonado – who won last year's Spanish Grand Prix against expectation – has done enough to deserve continued backing regardless of who comes to power.

"He became a national hero for winning the Spanish GP last year and I think that has been good for Venezuela and good for his sponsors, so why would they want to run away?” the former driver asked, “Obviously, politics may well play a part but I think he has shown he has tremendous speed, [although] the state of play in F1 and global economics means that cheque helps him a lot."

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Williams receives around €30m from PDVSA each year, but quotes a source from within the team who claims that the 'contract is watertight and will continue even after the death of Chavez'.

Maldonado was retained by Williams for a third season in 2013, but former team-mate Bruno Senna, who brought backing from Brazil was dropped in favour of less well-funded reserve Valtteri Bottas in the belief that the Finn has greater potential to take the team forward.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
20.04.2012- Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) and Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
Martin Brundle. Sky Sports F1 press day. Feb 2012 [Pic credit: Sky Sports]
13.05.2012- Celebration, The father of Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34
13.05.2012- Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34 race winner
Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35. 03.03.2013.
Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35. 03.03.2013.
Felipe Nasr (BRA) Williams Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Felipe Nasr (BRA), third driver, Williams F1 Team 
26.11.2014.
Felipe Nasr (BRA), third driver, Williams F1 Team 
26.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Williams F1 Team 
25.11.2014.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
25.11.2014.

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