At a press conference in Rio today, Francisco Gros, President of Petrobras and Frank Williams, Team Principal of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, announced a two year extension in their long term sponsorship and technical partnership.

Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company, has provided WilliamsF1 with one of the most competitive race fuels in the pitlane since 1998. The product of extensive research and development at Cenpes Research Centre in Brazil, Petrobras' race fuels have provided the team with quantifiable performance benefits on the track. This technical co-operation, which has already benefited both Petrobras and WilliamsF1 for five years, will be extended and increased until the end of the 2004 season.

Francisco Gros, Petrobras President, said, Petrobras has recently invested over US$1m in the development of a dedicated plant at the Cenpes Research Centre to develop, test and produce specialist fuels explicitly for Formula One. The extension of our relationship with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will consolidate our technical progress with both state-of-the-art facilities and a partnership with one of the world's leading motor racing teams."

Petrobras Director, Rogério Manso said, Our long-term relationship with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team has prospered both because of the technical advances we have all enjoyed, but also because this relationship has clear commercial benefits, one clear example of which is Petrobras' new forecourt fuel, Podium. It is for these reasons that we are delighted to be renewing our Formula One partnership."

The lessons learnt in developing race fuels for the world's most technically demanding sport have been brought to the forecourt pump across Brazil, with the launch of a new road car fuel, Podium.

Podium gasoline, approved by WilliamsF1, was developed using the same technology applied by Petrobras to produce the gasoline for Formula One. Petrobras Podium gasoline, with a higher octane rating, enables high speed vehicles to perform better, principally when re-accelerating. After a successful pilot in two Brazilian cities, Podium is being rolled out to eight cities across the country.

Frank Williams, Managing Director of WilliamsF1 and Team Principal of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, commented on the announcement of the contract extension, "There can be no stronger validation of the value of a partnership than to see it extended to seven years in duration. We at the BMW WilliamsF1 Team know only too well the value that committed technical partners such as Petrobras can make to our on-track performance, and I am delighted that the commercial and technical benefits in return prove to be as attractive for our business partners."