The world is certainly a fickle place, and great fortune often has a habit of preceding great outcomes.

And certainly Nico Hülkenberg’s pole position for Williams – the team’s first since 2005 – has put the Grove-based team back in the headlines for all of the right reasons and, as the team’s co-founder Patrick Head asserted after qualifying, given the team the impetus it needs to get back to the front of the grid more regularly.

However, success in Formula 1 is largely reliant on good funding (although you couldn’t argue that at all well if you cited Honda and Toyota as examples!), and that’s something that Williams seems to be rather short of at the moment.

Less than 24 hours before qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the team’s long-standing sponsor, the Dutch electronics giant Philips, confirmed it was among a host of sponsors set to leave the former championship-winning outfit at the end of the season.

It joins a list of departing sponsors that includes the Royal Bank of the Scotland (RBS), AirAsia and McGregor.

“We have been pleased with our partnership with Williams,” said Philips’ global sponsorship manager, Patrick Overwijk, when the break-up was announced.

But Williams’ surprise result has put the squad and its sponsors back in the limelight, which could give these companies pause for thought to reconsider their decisions.

Not so, Philips has indicated, with Overwijk adding that: “The reason we are stopping the sponsorship has nothing to do with Williams.

“Philips has decided to withdraw from Formula One in order to pursue a different kind Williams is in dire need of additional sponsorshipof sponsorship,” he told

The departure of a core group of sponsors has left Williams with a sizeable black hole in its budget for 2011, and this in turn adds further credence to rumours that GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado – and his considerable government backing from Venezuela – could join the team to shore up its coffers.

But with Hülkenberg and team-mate Rubens Barrichello seemingly finding form and both in Williams’ radar to have their contracts extended, it seems that three into two won’t go…

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.