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Williams toasts Martini deal

British Formula One motor racing team Williams has ended long-running speculation by confirming Italian spirits brand Martini as its new title sponsor.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Thursday’s unveiling of the agreement has resulted in the return of the Martini livery to the F1 grid with the team now set to be known as Williams Martini Racing.

Speculation over a deal between Williams and Martini heightened last month when a Martini-branded shirt briefly featured on the team’s online shop before being taken down. 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.

Andy Gibson, chief marketing officer of Martini’s parent company Bacardi and president of Bacardi Global Brands, said: “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. Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand.”

Williams has enjoyed a prolific start to the new commercial year, signing deals with Banco do Brasil, Petrobras, Oris and Genworth respectively. The team had been without title sponsor since its five-year partnership with US telecommunications company AT&T concluded at the end of 2011.