Chavez, however, died last year, preceding a period of intense political turmoil, and at the same time PDVSA's ploughing of state millions into Williams and Lotus was already highly controversial within Venezuela.
Now, Venezuela has a new sports minister, Antonio Alvarez, who has indicated this week that motor racing is being totally cut from the country's list of priorities.
"I know I'm going to win a lot of enemies," he is quoted by Venezuela's Ultimas Noticias.
"But there will be not one more dollar for motor racing. Venezuelan sport has other priorities, and it would be unfair to use state resources for disciplines that are not in line with the development of the country," said Alvarez.