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Williams’ funding from Venezuela is signed off each autumn to allow the sponsorship to continue for the season ahead. It is thus interesting to see that Venezuelan is running into financial trouble and that the finance minister Nelson Merentes has acknowledged that the economic policies of the late President Hugo Chavez have not yet proved to be successful, even if he says that the living standards of many Venezuelans have improved.
The country is suffering from high inflation, shortages and slow growth. He is calling for economic forms to try to stimulate the economy, such public analysis of the economy would not have been thinkable a year or two ago. Chavez died of cancer in March after 14 years in power and was replaced by his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. The country remains highly dependent on oil, which account for around 95% of its export earnings and close to half of the government revenues.
Record government spending has helped to boost growth but this led to inflation and nationalizing companies in different sectors meant that productivity suffered and private investment faded. The country has suffered power cuts as a result. The currency has been devalued several times but the problems continue. It remains to be seen whether F1 sponsorships are deemed sufficiently important to be continued in the future. Joe Saward
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