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Maldonado backing unaffected by Chavez death

ESPN Staff
March 9, 2013 « FIA confirms 19-race calendar | Fittipaldi named president of new Drivers' Commission »
Pastor Maldonado and Venezuela president Hugo Chavez inspect a Williams F1 car in 2011 © Getty Images
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Pastor Maldonado's backing from Venuzuela's government should remain unaffected by the death of Hugo Chavez, according to Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle.

Maldonado is backed by Venuzuela's state oil company to the tune of around US$30 million and Chavez was personally a staunch supporter. There has been speculation in the last 48 hours as to the prospects of the funding continuing.

"He became a national hero for winning the Spanish Grand Prix last year and I think that has been good for Venezuela and good for his sponsors, so why would they want to run away?" Brundle said. "Obviously, politics may well play a part but I think he has shown he has tremendous speed [but] the state of play in F1 and global economics means that cheque helps him a lot."

Maldonado was one of the guards of honour at Chavez's funeral on Friday.

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