It has been paddock speculation for several weeks now, but Williams have finally announced their title sponsors as Martini – an infamous brand in motorsport. The news was coupled with the unveiling of the FW36’s livery, adorned with the illustrious red and blue Martini stripes alongside a striking white base colour. The car is beautiful, but can it deliver on its pre-season promise in Melbourne next weekend?
|The iconic Martini brand returns to Formula One with Williams
(c) Williams Martini Racing
Williams Martini Racing
“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” said Sir Frank Williams. “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 this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to Formula 1 once again in unison with Williams.”
Regrettably, secrets are very difficult to keep in the Formula One paddock and a photo of the exciting livery surfaced two weeks ago, as one particular photo slipped through the net and was released following the team’s filming day. Another case of social media robbing a team of that x-factor on one of their biggest PR days of the year. However, the debate in regards to the negative implications of social media on the sport, is one for another day.
The event still attracted much interest, as the return of any illustrious sponsor would. The Italian drinks brand has had a close relationship with racing since the 1960’s, and was commonly associated with Porsche’s GT efforts. After this partnership had created some iconic images of iconic liveries, the brand turned its attention to Formula One, striking alliances with Brabham and Lotus in the 1970’s. However, Martini’s home was in GT racing and it returned in the 1980’s and has been a famous part of motorsport ever since. Very few Le Mans events have passed without at least one car being adorned in the famous red and blue colour scheme.
A Business Masterstroke
It is magnificent news to see such an iconic brand return to Formula One. From a business perspective, the partnership with Williams is a great deal for both parties, as Sir Frank alludes to. Possibly the greatest businessman to ever grace the sport has pulled off another excellent deal for his team – not quite as poignant as the Saudi Airlines deal which kept the team afloat in their infancy, but certainly a key partnership.
Throughout the winter, title sponsors have been high on the news agenda, as McLaren’s seven year association with Vodafone came to an end, with the team failing to sign another deal before the start of the season. Both Coca-Cola and Sony had expressed an interest, with the latter perhaps a strong option for 2015, as part of the Honda package. Meanwhile, Williams have quietly struck a deal worth millions with continuity at the top of the hierarchy proving pivotal. Perhaps the overhaul at the top of McLaren’s management held them back.
However, yesterday was all about Williams – or should I say, Williams Martini Racing. The livery is debatably the best on the grid and there is a definite feel-good factor at the team. They have a fast car, a reliable car and a beautiful car as they head into what could be a successful year for the Grove outfit. Success that is undoubtedly overdue.