Williams has today confirmed, at a special media event, that Martini are returning to Formula One as their title partner. Williams and Martini, the world’s leading vermouth and best-selling Italian sparkling wine, announced a multi-year agreement that has created Williams Martini Racing.
The event, which officially launched the car’s hotly anticipated livery, featured the team’s drivers in new Martini-livery inspired race-suits. The Martini racing stripes will also adorn the crew team kit and the paddock motorhome, which will include the Martini Terrazza – a stylish rooftop destination. Merchandise will be available for fans at the start of the European season.
The new title sponsorship and look signals a new era for Williams, who also have added Felipe Massa to their race line-up to partner Valtteri Bottas. “We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” Team Principal and Founder, Sir Frank Williams said. “Williams and Martini share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make the partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to Formula One once again in unison with Williams.”
Martini Racing was created in 1968 with the brand becoming one of the first ever non-motorsport entrants to sponsor a racing team. During the 70s, the distinctive blue and red livery of Martini Racing was created.
This bold and ambitious move resulted in a pioneering sponsorship program that saw MARTINI become one of the first-ever non-motorsport entrants to sponsor a racing team. It was in 1972 that Martini made its Formula One debut – five years before the establishment of Williams – partnering Tecno for one year. They returned in 1975 as a partner of Brabham and again in 2006 when they became an official partner of the Ferrari team for three seasons.
“The decision to partner with Williams was a natural one for us as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for the Martini brand to connect with consumers through one of their lifestyle passions – Formula One racing,” Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, said. “Martini will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, intergrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strength the Martini brand.”
With just a week to go until the first race of the season – the Australian Grand Prix – Williams must be feeling confident after a reliable time at pre-season testing, the addition of the likes of Rob Smedley to the team, a switch to Mercedes-engines, an exciting driver line-up which also includes GP2 driver Felipe Nasr, and Susie Wolff.
“2014 is going to be a fascinating season, with regulation changes of this scale often shaking up the grid and creating opportunities for teams to make a good step forward,” Sir Frank Williams said. “Over the winter we have proved our ambition by making a number of positive changes; we welcome a new driver pairing, new senior technical personnel, and a number of new commercial partners for 2014. In testing the car has covered an impressive amount of mileage, which is testament to the hard work of everyone in the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes. We have developed a very strong working relationship with them which has proved vital in understanding the new power unit and maximising its performance. We head to Australia next week excited about the season’s prospects.”
Following the announcement of their new title sponsors, Williams have changed their name on Twitter to @WilliamsRacing. Read a Q & A with Sir Frank Williams on the team’s website ahead of the 2014 season.