The Williams F1 Team has finally announced it has secured a new title sponsor: the Martini drinks brand. The former championship winners will be known as Williams Martini Racing, and took the opportunity to officially unveil the livery scheme it will use for the 2014 Formula 1 season.
The tie-up between Williams and Martini has been rumoured for some months. The Italian drinks brand has had a lengthy association with motorsport sponsorship dating back to the 1970s, most notably with high-profile stints with the Brabham F1 team, as well as iconic deals with Porsche and Lancia in endurance racing and rallying.
“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” said Williams F1 Team founder 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.”
“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 1 racing,” added Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, who oversees marketing for Martini other premium brands in the Bacardi portfolio.
“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, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand.”
After an extremely promising pre-season test build-up with its new Mercedes-powered FW36, the team will enter the upcoming season with high hopes after a disastrous 2013 season where it finished a lowly ninth overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
The team will also mark twenty years of the passing of Ayrton Senna, who died at the wheel of the team’s FW16 at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. As the team has done every year since his death, the Ayrton Senna Foundation’s ‘Double S’ logo will be run on the car’s nose as a mark of respect to the three-time World Champion, whose dream of winning a fourth title was so cruelly curtailed.
This year, the team is running a new logo designed by the Foundation, which will feature a picture of Ayrton next to the words “Ayrton Senna Sempre”, Portuguese for “Always”.
“I was very close to Ayrton and the iconic double S logo has been a mainstay on our cars since his death 20 years ago,” Sir Frank Williams added.
“This new logo is our way of celebrating his achievements as a racing driver, and also the sterling work of his Foundation which is doing so much to promote educational opportunities in Brazil.”
Images via Williams F1 Team and XPB Images