Williams F1 reports drop in sponsorship income, gets lucky with title deal

UK-based Formula One team Williams posted a loss in the first six months of 2019 – with a fall in sponsorship earnings contributing to the negative interim results.

The Williams F1 team reported interim revenue of £46.3m ($46.3m/€52m), down from £60.7m for the same period in 2018, generating a loss of £16.8m.

Williams finished last in the F1 world constructors’ championship last year, compared to fifth place in 2017, resulting in a reduction in prize money, which is paid a year in arrears.

But the loss of title sponsor Martini and other sponsorship-related shortfalls also hit profits, according to Caroline Reid, publisher of Formula One business information service Formula Money.

Speaking to SportBusiness Sponsorship this morning, Reid said: “At the end of 2018, Williams lost its title partner Martini and a group of sponsors connected to their drivers Lance Stroll and Sergei Sirotkin. The Formula Money Sponsorship Database estimates these deals were worth around $42m (€38m).

“However, despite finishing last in the championship in 2018 and scoring only one point so far this year, the team has had a stroke of good fortune on the sponsorship front after signing a long-term deal with title sponsor ROKiT which partly offsets this.

“Previous negotiations with Rich Energy broke down and the energy drink company turned instead to Haas only to leave the team mid-season. The stability provided by the ROKiT deal is a big boost for Williams.”

Read this: Haas, Rich Energy end title sponsorship deal

Mike O’Driscoll, group chief executive officer at Williams, confirmed in the group’s interim financial statement that there was “an overall reduction in partnership income compared to the first half of 2018, although we secured major new partnerships with ROKiT and Orlen”.

O’Driscoll added: “Although we are enduring another tough season on track, we have seen some recent signs of improvement, and we continue to attract interest from potential partners as one of the longest standing Formula ne teams.

“This is best demonstrated by the recent two-year extension to our title partnership deal with ROKiT who will now continue with us until at least 2023.”

Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC makes the majority of its money from sponsorship operations with the rest from commercial rights and engineering services.

Total combined revenue for the parent compant fell from £82.6m to £77.8m.