As a car culture, we throw the word “iconic” too much, but if there’s anything it has ever applied to – when it comes to racing liveries especially – surely it’s the legendary stripes of Martini Racing. The Italian vermouth brand has sponsored everything from Porsche endurance racers to Lancia rally cars. It’s followed Ford into the WRC and Alfa Romeo into DTM. It’s even sponsored offshore racing powerboats. But when it comes to Formula One, it’s come and gone over the years.
Martini Racing started out sponsoring the unsuccessful Italian squad Tecno in 1972, then switched to the World-Champion Brabham racing team run by Bernie Ecclestone. It sponsored Lotus in 1979, then disappeared from the scene for decades until its logo showed up on the Ferrari 248 F1 in 2006, only to vanish again into the history books. But now it’s back.
As promised, Martini has penned a new deal with the Williams F1 team to see its stripes adorn the Mercedes-powered FW36 which Felipe Massa and Finnish newcomer Valtteri Bottas will be driving in the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship. The rechristened Williams Martini Racing has just revealed its car in full race livery – complete with those red, navy and light blue stripes draped over white bodywork – ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that will open the season in Melbourne next weekend.
The partnership gives Williams the best-looking livery and highest-profile sponsor since Rothmans in the 1990s, and gives us one more reason to pull for the plucky underdogs that have been outshining the frontrunners in pre-season testing.
Related GalleryWilliams Martini Racing
Iconic MARTINI® Brand Returns to Formula One™ Racing as Title Partner of the Legendary Williams™ Team
LONDON, March 6, 2014- MARTINI®, the world’s leading vermouth and best-selling Italian sparkling wine, in partnership with Williams, today announced a multi-year agreement that unites two of the most iconic brands in Formula One™ racing, creating WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING. The announcement was made during an event held here, as part of the 2014 team launch.
“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.”
“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,” said 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.”