Williams today officially announced their much predicted partnership with Martini, taking the drinks brand on as a title sponsor and rebranding the team Williams Martini Racing.
It has been common knowledge in Formula One for some months that the Grove squad would tie-up with the Italian company and bring an iconic colour scheme last seen on the 1975 Brabham back to the sport.
The team, formerly under the sponsorship banner of Venezuelan oil company PDVSA through its association with Pastor Maldonado, has suffered in terms of results in recent years but a switch to Mercedes-power this season has been a springboard to improved fortunes – at least in pre-season testing, where the new FW36 set the fastest time of the eight days of Bahrain pre-testing. New driver Felipe Massa and established team-mate Valtteri Bottas are already being viewed as potential podium finishers when the season gets underway in Melbourne next Friday.
The team also looks more secure commercially than it has done in recent years. Recent sponsorship deals with Brazilian companies Petrobras and Banco de Brasil, as well as a renewal of its partnership with watchmaker Oris have given the team a brighter outlook.
“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” said Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal, 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 One™ once again in unison with Williams.”