Williams logo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Martini not ending deal to join rival team – Williams

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by


Martini is not moving to one of Williams’s rivals, deputy team principal Claire Williams said, following the announcement their title sponsor is leaving the team.

According to Williams the alcohol brand is pulling out of F1 completely and will not move to a rival team this year or in the foreseeable future.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
2018 F1 pre-season testing day two in pictures
“It’s the end of their contract,” Williams confirmed. “We have been in discussion with them for many months now about an extension beyond 2018 as you’d expect.”

Williams said Martini have chosen to leave now because they have “achieved their objectives” in the sport.

“I think every brand is entitled to evolve their marketing objectives over time and that’s what Martini are doing. So they’re withdrawing not just from Williams but the whole of Formula One. You won’t see them on another team.”

Williams said the team was “incredibly lucky” to attract Martini as a sponsor five years ago. “We were ninth in the championship back in 2013 so to be able to attract a brand like Martini as a title partner in our position was pretty impressive and I think showed a lot of faith on their part.”

“We thank them for the support they’ve given us and the faith that they showed in us, we hope that they felt the same about us,” she added. “We’ve delivered them two thirds in the championship in ’14 and ’15. And we wish them well.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Driver choice unrelated to Martini exit

Wiliams denied the team’s decision to appoint Sergey Sirotkin in place of Felipe Massa had motivated Martini’s decision to leave. As an alcohol sponsor, Martini preferred one of the team’s drivers to be at least 25 years old for marketing reasons due to minimum age limits on alcohol consumption. Sirotkin is 22 and his team mate Lance Stroll is 19. The latter wore non-Martini-branded team kit at races in areas where he was below the legal age limit for drinking last season.

Sergey Sirotkin, Lance Stroll, Williams, 2018
Both Williams drivers are under 25
“I talked quite a lot last year about making sure that we had drivers we were able to activate from a marketing perspective because of Martini’s 25 years age limit,” she said. “We talked about them going into this year about drivers because it’s quite hard to find drivers that are over 25.”

“They were fully supportive of us bringing Sergey on board so that played no part in our decision making process. They were fully aware of our plans and they were supportive of it. And I suppose next year it gives us the freedom to do what we need to do without having to worry about any age limit.”

The team is actively seeking new sponsors but is not necessarily looking for a like-for-like replacement now Martini is leaving, Williams added.

“As you would expect with us being an independent team we have a very active commercial department, we’re always looking for new partners,”she said. “We brought in new partners over this winter and we have a very good partner community at the moment.”

“I don’t want to sit there going ‘now we’re looking for a title partner’ because it’s not about looking for a title partner, it’s ensuring we have the budget we need to go racing. Whether that comes from a new title partner coming on board or a group of partners then we’ll have to wait and see how the situation evolves over the course of this year.”

“Everybody can see our results, being a listed company. We’re financially stable at the moment, I can’t talk too much about it because we’re in a closed period. But we’re not unduly concerned about them leaving at the end of this year.”

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2018 F1 season

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 29 comments on “Martini not ending deal to join rival team – Williams”

    1. Perhaps next year we’ll see Tommy Hilfiger on the car. But I won’t expect that will quieten people from complaining about Stroll money in F1.

      1. A year after a very loud and public endorsement from the reigning World Champion and his World Championship Team? I don’t think so.

    2. Need a pint of bitter to get over this shock !

      1. Oh sure…NOW you need a drink. If you had only imbibed more and sooner, they wouldn’t be leaving F1;)

        1. @robbie – priceless!

    3. Williams Stroll Racing F1 team

      ..you heard it here first ;)

      1. +1

        Or Williams-Stroll-Sirotkin?

    4. Williams already have the only “partner” they need, Laurence Stroll.

      1. Nah they need way more than Stroll’s chump change if they want to go up against the big 4 teams.

        1. For a few years he’d have enough to go up against the big 4, but then nothing!

    5. So let’s put it this way, true that Martini are coming to the end of their contract, however, they would have looked at the current driver lineup and figured its best to quit while they’re still ahead.

      Williams are very naive to think that their driver pairing didn’t play a part in this. They are trying to sell a product. If your brand ambassadors need to justify their existence, you’re probably backing the wrong horse.

      Frankly, I have no issue with Williams hiring rubbish pay drivers, OK a bit harsh I know, bring back Maldonado, I don’t care, but just be honest about it. Instead of pussyfooting around it. You need money, we know, so just be honest. Don’t treat us fans like idiots.

      But I guess Claire’s hands are tied ?

      1. “So let’s put it this way, true that Martini are coming to the end of their contract, however, they would have looked at the current driver lineup and figured its best to quit while they’re still ahead.”

        So why aren’t they going to another team?

      2. But I guess Claire’s hands are tied?

        I dream about this.

    6. So Kubica was their guy if martini extended their contract, and this explains their indecision?

    7. I suspect the reason Martini are ending their contract is F1 doesn’t give them the brand recognition they desire. I’m guessing they’ll re-appear associated with a sport that does fulfill their expectations. I notice Indycar drivers have lots and lots of adverts on their cars and overalls. One can’t but help think those advertisers do get the brand recognition they desire.

      1. I think we have also seen that a marketing campaign can run it’s course in terms of impact and it may have nothing to do with how F1 is doing. There would have been maximum impact initially, and now that people just expect, in this case the Williams cars, to be painted as such, there isn’t the same wow factor. All kinds of companies have experienced this, including tire suppliers who have left F1 and have come back a number of years later.

        Indycar has lot’s of sponsors too but that branding space would be far far cheaper than F1, and Indycar remains in a struggle to grow their audience. Their marketing outreach would be a fraction of the reach the global series F1 has.

    8. That Martini element in William’s livery was the only thing the team had going for them. In 2018, they’re left with a plain white car and 2 rubbish but rich drivers.

      1. Williams’ cars tend to be blue without a title sponsor

    9. Maybe replace Martini with some Russian vodka?

      1. what about some maple syrup?

        1. Maybe some Canadian whiskey instead.

    10. Quite a blow for Williams given how they’ve ‘built their house’ on having a great title sponsor for the last few years, something few of even there biggest teams can claim!
      Given the intense public reaction to Williams driver lineup on sites such as this, one does wonder wether similar conversations were had in the Martini boardroom.

    11. So do we know Stroll’s and Sirotkin’s favourite colours for next year or what?

    12. I hoped Sauber had poached Martini.

    13. Nooo! Is it too late to start drinking Martini?!

    14. it’s quite hard to find drivers that are over 25

      I think what she means is it’s quite hard to find drivers over 25 whose fathers are willing to spend tens of millions for the privilege. What a ridiculous statement.

      1. Very true!

    15. This is very bad news. One, in budgeting terms. And two, because the Martini stripes really brighten up a livery. I will be very sad to see them go.

    Comments are closed.