Italian spirits brand Martini is set to become the title sponsor of Formula One motor racing team Williams, according to the Autosport.com website.
Although there has been no official confirmation of the deal, Autosport said an agreement has been reached between the two parties over the full rebranding of the Williams car after Martini also entered negotiations with other leading F1 teams, including Ferrari and McLaren.
The UK-based team featured in the opening pre-season test session in Jerez, Spain at the end of last month with a car featuring minimal branding. Speculation over a deal between Williams and Martini heightened this week when a Martini-branded shirt briefly featured on the team’s online shop before being taken down.
Yesterday, Williams confirmed a multi-year sponsorship deal with lifestyle protection insurer Genworth and its commercial drive will continue in the build-up to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras among those rumoured to be in contention. Williams signed Brazilian driver Felipe Massa on a multi-year contract in November.
Martini was last involved in F1 as a sponsor of Ferrari between 2006-08 but it boasted a strong presence in the sport during the 1970s through deals with the Tenco, Brabham and Lotus teams.
Williams has been without a title sponsor since its five-year partnership with US telecommunications company AT&T concluded at the end of 2011.