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Brazil's Bolsonaro Seeks to Nix Petrobras Contract With McLaren

David Biller
Brazil's Bolsonaro Seeks to Nix Petrobras Contract With McLaren

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is looking for a way to pull out of a pricey sponsorship deal with the McLaren Formula 1 racing team, President Jair Bolsonaro said on his Twitter account.

“At the moment, the company, by decision of my Government, is looking for a way to rescind the contract,” Bolsonaro said. The five-year contract signed by Petrobras in 2018 is worth 782 million reais ($191 million), he said.

Bolsonaro, who took office in January, has promised to shrink government spending, and among other things has trained fire on advertising and publicity costs.

However, even the appearance of steering Petrobras decision-making is contentious, as shown in April when he rattled markets by heading off the company’s planned diesel price increase.

Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Roberto Castello Branco said in an interview in April that the company would end its sponsorship of McLaren without specifying that it would attempt to rescind the contract.

He said at the time that publicity campaigns would focus on childhood education, science and technology, plus a few cultural institutions in Rio de Janeiro, where the oil giant is headquartered.

Soon after after signing the deal with Petrobras, U.K.-based McLaren began selling its luxury sports cars in Brazil at a showroom in Sao Paulo, which also hosts an annual Formula 1 race. Bolsonaro last week announced plans to accept bids to build and operate a new F1 racetrack in Rio de Janiero, on land ceded by the military.

To read more: F1 Racing Coming to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says

To contact the reporter on this story: David Biller in Rio de Janeiro at dbiller1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, James Ludden

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