Felipe Nasr’s hopes of staying at Sauber next season have suffered a blow after Banco do Brasil announced it was ending its sponsorship of the Swiss outfit.
Fresh from helping Sauber move up to 10th place in the constructors’ championship after scoring two valuable points in Brazil, Nasr had hoped his contribution would be enough to secure his future.
But with Sauber in talks with Mercedes about slotting Pascal Wehrlein in alongside Marcus Ericsson next year, it has now emerged that Nasr’s backers have no interest in remaining with the Swiss outfit.
In a statement issued to Brazilian media on Thursday, Banco do Brasil said that its deal with Sauber would come to a finish at the end of the year.
“The sponsorship of the Sauber F1 team will not be renewed at the end of the season,” said the statement. “During negotiations with the team, Banco do Brasil made a condition that the renewal of the sponsorship agreement depends on the arrival of other Brazilian sponsors – which did not happen.”
The statement added that Brazil’s difficult financial situation meant the company had been forced to rethink its sponsorship strategy.
“Banco do Brasil recognised Felipe Nasr’s talent and is proud to be the sponsor that was responsible for his entry in to F1. However, for budgetary reasons and, due to a review or our marketing strategy, we understand how necessary it is to review investment in the category.”
The situation effectively means that Nasr’s only hope of remaining in F1 now rests with Manor, which could be looking for two new drivers if Wehrlein makes the switch to Sauber.
Ironically, Nasr’s Brazilian GP result has made Manor’s life more difficult because of the financial hit it is set to take for being beaten by Sauber in the constructors’ championship.