Petrobras deny Honda sponsorship deal

According to yesterday's Daily Telegraph widespread reports over the weekend which claimed that Bruno Senna had signed with Honda for 2009, with him considerable financial backing through his links to Brazilian oil company Petrobras, are unfounded.

Statement from Petrobras

"Petrobras denies the rumours seen in the media about Bruno Senna's hiring by the ex-Honda team with the company's support.

"The company has no contract with Honda or any future team being formed for the 2009 Formula One season. Petrobras also reiterates that under the terms of its Motorsport Sponsorship Programme, it does not sponsor drivers individually."

It leaves the future of the team and their 750-strong staff, including Jenson Button in th balance. - the Telegraph speculates three possible outcomes

1. Honda could shut down the team altogether, which would cost them an estimated £100 million, mainly in redundancy payments. Paying off Button's recently signed three-year contract would alone cost £24 million.

2.  Honda could accept the proposed management buy-out proposal being led by the current CEO Nick Fry and team principal Ross Brawn.

3.  Honda could accept a bid from an unnamed third party, who have come to the table late in proceedings.

Renault lose ING sponsorship

ING whose backing has provided a significant slice of the former world champions' budget, have announced that they will not be renewing their deal with the French team, and will be pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.

"In light of the recently announced cost reduction programme, ING confirmed today not to renew the three-year sponsorship contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in F1 beyond the 2009 season," ING said in a statement.

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