It's not only global tycoons and car manufacturers that are greasing the wheels of Formula One -- countries are doing it too.
Traditionally governments have invested in F1 by stumping up cash to stage races but now they are cutting deals with drivers and teams.
The Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA funds Pastor Maldonado's drive for Williams.
This summer Sauber announced a partnership deal involving three backers with closes links to the Russian state that will see the Swiss team fast track teenager Sergey Sirotkin into a race seat in time for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in 2014.
"It's a huge responsibility that I have," Maldonado, who had the personal approval of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, told CNN. "I have a complete country pushing in my back so every day we do not do very well, I have some pressure."
But why do countries want to invest in the fickle world of F1 in the first place, where there is no tangible return on their investment?
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh explained to CNN: "Last year Formula 1 was watched by over half a billion people.
"There are only two world sports -- football and F1. It's natural that as F1 expands the calendar and goes into new markets [people] want to be involved and invest in the sport."
Christian Sylt, co author of Formula Money, an annual report examining all aspects of the sport's finances, believes countries now have a role to play in filling the gap left by F1's traditional investors.
"The departure of the car manufacturers left a big hole in the budgets of many teams," said Sylt.
"In 2008 and 2009, F1 lost Honda, BMW and Toyota while Renault also slashed its spending. This meant that, according to Formula Money's data, team owner spending plummeted from $1.6 billion in 2008 to $611 million in 2010, despite the addition of two new teams.
"In turn, teams have had to look for new sources of funding to maintain their budgets."
F1's peripatetic players visit five continents and 19 countries in 2013 -- and in 2014 there are additional races scheduled in Russia, Austria, the United States and Mexico.
Part of the sport's appeal is that it immediately gives its backers structured access to nearly 20 global markets.
"If a government thinks that it can increase trade and tourism by presenting an image of itself as a technologically savvy, glamorous destination and a center of sporting excellence, then F1 is a good way to achieve this," Sylt continued.
"F1's values of technology and glamor are often something that developing countries want to align themselves with.
"It's not so common in F1 at the moment, but this is already a big source of funding in its feeder series GP2.
"In the last couple of years logos for countries including Venezuela, Monaco, Romania, Angola, Russia and Colombia have all appeared on the cars and Venezuela even title sponsors the Lazarus team.
"As these drivers move into F1, they will bring their sponsors with them and we'll see more and more countries getting involved as F1 sponsors."
Sponsoring a driver or team is also a powerful marketing tool. As well as the traditional logos prominently painted on the car's livery, Venezuela now gets a mention every time Maldonado is strapped into a car.
But how do the drivers cope with these unique patriotic pressures of essentially being an ambassador in a racesuit?
"I have more than many responsibilities," Maldonado explained with a half smile. "I am the only one in Venezuela who has Formula 1 on his back. It's quite hard for me to keep everyone happy."
Like most F1 racers, the 28-year-old Williams driver progressed from karting through the junior ranks before winning the GP2 title in 2010.