I think it was back in Austin that I first mentioned that Red Bull would be getting a deal with ExxonMobil, to replace its partnership with Total. It has taken a while but the story has finally been confirmed, the date is obviously part of this as December 1 is often a contractual cut-off point for deals and so we can expect some more stories to sneak out in the days ahead if anyone, for example, has an option on an engine deal for 2018, which must be taken up or dropped, and this sort of thing.
I am still expecting to hear that Renault has done a big deal with BP, as the McLaren deal announced some weeks ago seems to be only a fuel and lubricant partnership and not a sponsorship. I believe the proposed BP-Renault deal will be for about $35 million (which is a big deal these days) but it is rather complex as Renault and has an ongoing agreement with Elf (a division of Total) until 2019 for Renault to recommend the use of Elf lubricants to its whole network and customers around the globe. Renault has promoted Elf oils in its road cars for decades, while its F1 cars also carried Elf sponsorship. This changed in 2009, when Elf logos were replaced by Total. The problem is that it seems that Total has decided to stop all sponsorship in F1 in 2017, what with the oil price and falling revenues. Renault wants money for F1 or freedom to have another partner. This is taking time to sort out.