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ROKiT extends Williams commitment

Telco ROKiT has today (Thursday) struck an extension to its title sponsorship deal with Formula One motor-racing team Williams.

ROKiT’s original contract was only signed in February, but the company has committed to extend the deal from three to five years, taking the relationship through to the end of the 2023 season.

The start-up signed its original deal as it prepared to launch in both the US and the UK, where Williams is based. ROKiT succeeds Martini as Williams’ title sponsor, with the Italian spirit brand’s five-year contract having expired at the end of the 2018 F1 season.

The new agreement has been signed ahead of Williams’ home grand prix at Silverstone and comes as a boost to a team that is in the middle of a rebuilding phase that has seen its two drivers become regular fixtures at the back of the grid.

Claire Williams, deputy team principal of Williams Racing, said in a statement: “As I said in February, this is a natural partnership based on shared values of innovation, engineering excellence and trust. ROKiT joined the team at a challenging time and it means a great deal to us that they believe in our vision and are committed to helping us achieve it.”

Jonathan Kendrick, chairman of ROKiT, added: “Our relationship with the Williams Racing team supports our position as a global player in the mobile phone industry, entertainment and drinks business.

“We have exciting plans to produce exclusive ROKiT Williams Racing content for our ROKiT phones, as well as strong distribution for (drinks brands) ABK and Bogarts. I am also committed to helping the team get back onto the podium, where they should be.”

Regarding Williams’ performance this season, Kendrick added to Motorsport.com: “I’m happy with my brand recognition and what it’s done for me. I sponsored the team to get my brand out there, and it’s got my brand out there big time, all over the world. It’s even better than I expected.

“Our phones are going into 4,000 Walmart stores in the USA, and in every car park ROKiT Williams has a banner. In India, ROKiT Williams is going to be in every one of our WiFi cities. So there’s masses of potential for Williams to leverage their brand in a way that they’ve never done before.

“Obviously nobody’s happy with finishing last. But I’ve been to the factory, I know what they are capable of, I’ve seen the incredible engineers they’ve got, and it’s just a hiccup. It’s cyclical, isn’t it? After Ferrari won with Jody Scheckter in 1979, it took them 20 years to win again.

“I know what they’ve got planned, I’ve seen what they’re doing. We’ve got to put the finances in place, which we are, and they will be back. I really believe that.”