My friend Andres sent me a text today: "Venezuela is basically broke".
Hours earlier I was listening to a radio report about six hour lines in Caracas to get rice, flour and sugar.
Hugo Chavez' handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro has failed to move the country away from it's $110 barrel oil "economy" and lost elections this past December by a landslide. The Chavista Supreme Court is declaring the now opposition led National Assembly invalid and the National Assembly is trying to get the Supreme Court fired.
Meanwhile, the government forces citizens to use a biometric scanner to buy a quart of milk...
As you may imagine interest Maldonado's gold plated (or was it oil stained?) driving sponsorship has fallen by the wayside in his native country.
There are news reports PDVSA has yet to pay the $50M it takes for anyone to give Pastor the keys to an F1car.
Not a shocker.
But surely if it starts in Venezuela, already a basket case for many reasons, low oil prices have the potential to threaten motorsport broadly.
Think Shell, Total, Petronas.
Think of the Gulf States: Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, you don't think they feel it? Qatar just killed off al Jazeera America because of low oil prices.
What about Azerbaijan, how long will that last?
And that's just F1....