Claire Williams, Williams 2019 F1 livery launch

Williams credits a bottle of brown sauce for new sponsor deal

2019 F1 season

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A signed bottle of HP brown sauce helped seal Williams new title sponsorship deal with Rokit, deputy team principal Claire Williams revealed.

Speaking at the launch of the team’s new livery and title sponsor yesterday, Williams explained how she successfully pitched the deal to ROK Brands chairman Jonathan Kendrick.

“Jonathan is a big fan of HP sauce,” said Williams. “And he said to me when he was flying in, ‘I’m going to need a bacon roll with some HP sauce’.

“That first meeting there was a bottle of HP signed by both our racing drivers. And I think the deal was pretty much done then.”

Kendrick revealed Rokit were in discussions with rival F1 teams about a potential deal for the 2019 F1 season.

“We were approached by three or four other Formula 1 teams when they realised we were in the market,” he said. “And the reason we’re with Williams is it’s British, I’m British, my company’s British.

“I love the fact that the Williams name has been above the garage now for a lot longer than other teams that are not here any more: Tyrrell, Lotus, BRM, Cooper, Brabham – Williams is still standing. That was one reason.

[smr2018test]

Jonathan Kendrick, Williams 2019 F1 livery launch
Kendrick: Deal will last “many years”
“And the other reason quite bluntly is this lady here, Claire. So I met Claire, had a great meeting, bought into her vision, her passion, her drive and strategy. And basically I was all-in in about 45 minutes.”

The full extent of the multi-year deal has not yet been confirmed but Kendrick described it as “a long-term partnership” which he expects to last for “many, many years”.

He also explained how his connection to the team extends began decades earlier. “I was a Goodyear tyre engineer when I was 20 years old in Wolverhampton,” he said.

“All Goodyear racing tyres for Formula 1 were made in Wolverhampton, where I was born. And in 1978 they sent me out to look after the new team in Buenos Aires

“And quite remarkably I was the tyre engineer for Alan Jones and Frank at the first race in Argentina. And 41 years later here I am as the title sponsor. It’s a dream come true and I’m very proud to be sat here.”

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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...

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  • 50 comments on “Williams credits a bottle of brown sauce for new sponsor deal”

    1. Nice little story. All the best to Williams.

    2. He’s also putting money into BTCC this season with Nic Hamilton’s car. Good on him.

    3. Laundering money through motorsport…..reminds me of the TV show “Ozarks”. I should piych the idea fot season 3 :D

      1. Need edit button to correct spelling…….doh!

        1. You need an edit button for your whole comment. A good news story from a much beleaguered but well loved team, but theres always someone happy to put HP on their chips.

          1. Used to like it with a black pudding supper but changed to tomato sauce :)

          2. I’m simply referring to the mystery surrounding the Rokit deal and the distinct lack of beverage availability despite claims in excess of 50 million cans have been manufactured.

            1. Well as they are a telecoms company, the lack of beverage availability is perhaps unsurprising…

            2. I suspect you’re thinking of the ‘Rich Energy’ deal with Haas….

            3. I think you are making a mix drink of things there a bit @homerlovesbeer – the dodgy energy drink deal in a JPS livery is with Haas. This is a Telecom company whose phones are so far only announced (as far as I am aware)

    4. I still have no idea what Rokit is supposed to be. This article had me believing it may have something to do with brown sauce, but apparently not.
      Then again, I don’t think I care enough to ask if they’re an actual sponsor marketing their product, or if they’re yet another money laundering scheme. I think the latter shall be my working hypothesis for now, it’s up to them to change my mind.

      1. From what I have seen, read, and a bit of research I did, they are a new start mobile telecomms company that also is about to launch their own brand of handsets, including “glasses free 3D” smartphones – whatever that is

        I am doubtful they are in the same league as logo pinching, dodgy backed drinks company :)

        G

        1. Glasses free 3D is essentially the tech you see in Nintendo’s 3DS. It’s a special screen that sends two different visuals to each eye, creating the 3D effect.

        2. I want to believe so much that they are not, I want so myuch to just be able to say that I don’t understand business on this scale, so I shouldn’t judge, but the warning signs are there. The gossip is that Vijay is laundering through F1, always has been and is trying to continue to do so. Everything with Rocket seems to work it’s way back to India with few exceptions. Then theres the fact that they were, about this time last year 500 million in debt, and winding up the only profitable business under their group – why would you do that – in favour of a ‘security ANPR’ app. Now, just one year on and they seemed to have dropped the app in favour of a smartphone technology that Red (of Red Cameras) tried and whiffed on. They also seem to be lining up a social media platform which proudly sells itself on the idea of mapping all it’s users, publicly – can you imagine how popular a soocial media platform that dox it’s users is going to be. These seem to be businesses designed to fail… and that is a habit of money launderers – “Oh, that money went into or failed social media platform, it’s gone”.

          I want to believe that the man who brought Yokohama tyres to the west is just a keen motor racing fan with a flair for business, I want to believe that Rok isn’t just a front for dodgy corruption, but I just don’t. I don’t believe that a 50 year old with 500 million debts thinks he can outdo Red. I don’t believe anyone thinks a social media platform which maps it’s users would pass first brainstorm, and I don’t believe that any business man thinking about sponsoring an F1 team would or could shut down the only part of his business making a profit, to focus on an app. I only hope to be proven wrong, because Williams is very special to me.

          1. @unklegsif
            The first paragraph of your reply I can get behind. What puzzles me, is the apparent change of mind that leads to your conclusion in the second paragraph. If anything, this sounds even dodgier to me than an (as of yet) imaginary energy drink. Especially when you consider the points Will Jones brings up.

            1. Sorry, replied to the wrong post.

            2. Let’s not overlook that Rok also have an (as of yet) imaginary energy drink too!

            3. @nase
              The first paragraph of your reply I can get behind. What puzzles me, is the apparent change of mind that leads to your conclusion in the second paragraph. If anything, this sounds even dodgier to me than an (as of yet) imaginary energy drink. Especially when you consider the points Will Jones brings up.

              Bit harsh, considering the comments William Jones made raised came AFTER my comment. It’s obvious that he has access to more information that I do, so to query the statement I made BEFORE he replied with his position of increased standing is at the very least, disingenuous!

            4. Also, at least this guy has an existing relationship with the team (albeit historical), and experience in motorsport

          2. Like you I’m hoping that ROK are legit. There are some more positives than rich energy – Kendrick appears to have some successful business history, rich backers and an address that is a step above a co-working space. But seems more than a little fishy that the company (which is in software!) last updated the news section of their website 5 years ago.

            Out of interest, how did you get the 500 million debt figure and the links to India?
            The company I thought was the main ROK group had about 40 million debt on Companies House (but Kendrick was linked to 75 companies and I didn’t check all of them!). The debt was linked to John Paul DeJoria (I confess I had never heard of him) but he checks out as having made a fortune (3+ billion dollars) in hair care and alcohol. That gave me some hope that all this was above board. But if that 500 million debt is right then things don’t look so good anymore.

            1. I need to learn to google better…

              William Jones is right about the India connection. ROKit seem to be going all out to tap into the indian mobile market. And particularly focusing the low cost smart phone sector. Another company called JIO phone is producing a low cost smartphone (for about £35) and appears to have sold over 25 million units and currently seems to be selling 7 million phones a month. ROKit appears to be setting up in competition and rolling out a wifi network in major cities that only its phones and/or app can use via a monthly subscription. If those volumes of sales and subscriptions are achieved then £500 million set-up cost could be made back.

              So I’m starting to think this makes sense, F1 is pretty big in India and ROKit appears to want to launch their phones near the start of the F1 season. They also will have a phone called the F-One (not sure how that will go down with the F1 copyright team) according to a review of their stand at CES https://www.pcmag.com/news/365842/rokit-has-the-wildest-phone-lineup-at-ces

            2. @ejay – I’m not contradicting your overall comment, but just wanted to add a bit of local flavour to your observations.

              Another company called JIO phone is producing a low cost smartphone (for about £35) and appears to have sold over 25 million units and currently seems to be selling 7 million phones a month.

              The difference is that Jio is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, which is a massive conglomerate (~60 billion USD revenue in 2018), and they have network agreements with the other major cellular providers in India. Their ability to subsidize devices and plans has led to all-around price drops and some of the most customer-friendly prices for plans (e.g. I get 20 GB of 4G data a month, and unlimited national calls and texts for £4.5 a month).

              Rokit’s approach of a Wi-Fi network in cities is … interesting, to say the least. I wish them well, but have to point out that the cutthroat nature of cellular competition in India has let to a lot of mergers between companies, so the market isn’t exactly conducive to a new player coming in and setting up shop.

              F1 is pretty big in India and ROKit appears to want to launch their phones near the start of the F1 season.

              The F1-watching public in India aren’t anywhere as numerous as you might believe – not in numbers, and definitely not in percentages. Anecdotally, in a social gathering of 50 or so people, I’ll probably find one other person who follows F1 (often passionately, not just casually, though!).

            3. (e.g. I get 20 GB of 4G data a month, and unlimited national calls and texts for £4.5 a month)

              To clarify, that plan is from Vodafone, not Jio. Vodafone rejigged their plans and made it more appealing in the face of competition from Jio. Today, pretty much every cellular provider in India has standardized around similar price points, with the biggest differentiator being freebies offered.

            4. @phylyp Thanks for the local info. It makes a bit more sense now why the review focused on the benefits of the contract and freebies and not the phone specs (I thought that was weird). I agree the wi-fi network is ‘interesting’ (to be clear, I tend to use ‘interesting’ as a euphemism for ‘not so good’ ).

              To be honest, I’m not bothered if ROKit will be successful. Just glad that this is unlikely to be another t-minus.

              P.S I would say 2 in 50 people is a good number following F1 (I lived in the UK for the last 10 years and had similar expectations).

      2. You overrate yourself nase. You accuse a legitimate business of money laundering. You dismiss a company because you haven’t heard of it and you demand to be convinced you are wrong. Are you a prince or something? I can only guess that your arrogance and nastiness would come from someone like that who is not in touch with normal society

        1. Dear Tony,
          I wish I could retort that I am underrating you. However, all available evidence leads me to conclude that this might be impossible.

          Yours sincerely,
          Prince nase

          1. Brain in your nase. See kromenaase for a reasoned response. I was too disgusted with your throw away accusations. Don’t reply.

            1. You don’t want me to reply. I, for one, would be chuffed if you stopped commenting altogether.
              It’s a heavy cross to bear for both of us.

            2. nase – agreed…
              And this site is starting to get really nasty. I used to read every comment, and learned a lot from most of them. Now I give up at the first nasty comment. Shame…

      3. If you were going to launder money through sports sponsorship, would you do it with a team that actually expects to get millions, in a sport with hundreds of millions of viewers like F1? Where it is so obvious that the immediate reaction of fans is “this is a money laundering scheme”? Or would you sponsor some 2nd league football team and launder your dirty money by overpaying for player transfers without the public even realising it?

        The money laundering accusation would only make sense if Rokit were acquiring a big part of Williams and overvalueing it, but since Williams are publically traded, this can’t be what’s going on here. So I’m guessing it’s just what it looks like: a new brand with lots of investor money behind it trying to make a big splash.

        1. @krommenaas
          ‘Money laundering’ may not be the most accurate term, and I am by no means an expert when it comes to that. However, I can tell when something smells fishy, and boy does this ever smell fishy.

          I don’t know what’s in it for them, but a title sponsor without a tangible product, with virtually no assets to compensate for massive liabilities – if that doesn’t spell trouble, I don’t know what does.
          F1’s exposure to the public eye, I’m afraid, means nearly nothing in that respect. On the contrary, F1’s prestige has attracted many a shady personality or ‘sponsor’ without the slightest intention of coughing up a single penny, precisely because of the sport’s laundering effect. People will assume you can’t be that bad when they’ve seen you shaking Bernie Ecclestone’s cold, dry hands. Someone’s got to have performed a background check on you, right? And this innocence by association can be worth a lot of money, of that I’m sure. 2nd league football teams don’t offer that, leave that to those who already have the money they need laundered. F1 is for attracting this kind of money.
          Meanwhile, the easiest explanation for the teams’ apparent trust (I almost said ‘blind’ trust, but no: It is imperative that no one think their trust is blind) in those shady characters could simply be the financial distress they’re finding themselves in. They have nothing to lose. There’s no money to be earned by saying No, and the sad truth is that all the other offers they received (if there were any to speak of) were probably even more unlikely to contribute to their finances in a meaningful way. They’re probably aware of the fact that they’re taking a massive gamble, but they didn’t really have any other choice than to hope their sponsor will manage to create a business out of hot, thin air. Even if it ends up costing them their last bit of dignity with funny stories about brown sauce and whatnot.

    5. Is getting a bigger / well known brand so hard to land these days in F1? I mean, sure, Williams is not the most visible car in the pack given their form lately, but it’s one of only 10 teams that race all over the world in the most famous motorsport competition. I get that viewship is down and the kids nowadays dont follow F1, but still there are tens of millions of people from my generation (35 yo) or a bit younger / older that still watch it, and i dare to say that we are actually the most coveted audience by marketers, given the age and financial situation.

      P.S: reagrding the new livery, seems plain and quite a bit amatuer hour in my eyes. Looks like they spray-canned the blue over the white and called it a day. Last years livery looked way sharper and recognisable, but than again i was a big fan of the Martini branding with their ribbons, gorgeuos fonts and color combination.

      1. @gechichan – I think the advertising landscape has changed greatly, and this is why we often see this trend of big brands not being that keen on F1.

        F1 is expensive, and sponsorship is correspondingly expensive. And in return, you get global eyeballs for some hours every fortnight. How many eyeballs? Well, that depends totally on how eye-catching or anonymous a job the team and drivers are doing. Lucky enough to sponsor the top 3? You get tons of TV time. Unlucky enough to be saddled with one of the other 7? You probably only get the TV director’s attention when being lapped, crashing out or otherwise retiring.

        In contrast, the Internet provides for a much more direct connect with the customers you’re targeting. Moreover, that advertising is much more granular – the sort of controls that Google and Facebook offer for targeting ads is unheard of before this era – more sniper than shotgun. This makes the ROI proposition that much more attractive.

        I’m sure its not due to lack of knowledge that F1 is struggling to find sponsors, it is the marketing teams of these established companies that assess the ROI and deem it poor, especially alongside the big bucks needed for an F1 sponsorship.

        That would also explain why we’re seeing “upstart” brands dipping their toes in F1. While the ROI in terms of sales might still be shabby, the ROI in terms of brand visibility and exposure is impressive, and on par with other global sports (football, tennis, Olympics, etc.). Having said that, unless these companies can quickly convert that visibility into sales and money in the bank, I’d think we’ll see them pulling out of F1 as quickly as they came in.

        1. sure, the advertising landscape changed greatly, and the Internet offers cheaper alternatives, but i’m talking about more premium brands (like luxury watches, high-end hotel chains or designer furniture, just 3 examples from the top of my head) – brands that need a bit more than just the cheap banner in your YouTube video. These brands need more to convince people to spend a lot of money for their products, and an expensive sponsorship like F1 should be one of the ways to do it (among private events, image deals with VIPs and influencers, etc).

          1. more premium brands (like luxury watches, high-end hotel chains or designer furniture, just 3 examples from the top of my head)

            Let’s be brutally honest, though – would they be keen on advertising to an audience who bemoans the loss of free-to-air broadcasts of the race? Those ads would be lost on us, just as the Rolex ads of the past were lost on me.

            I’m not saying that the people who can afford those brands and enjoy that lifestyle aren’t watching F1 on TV the same way we are – just that they’re being targeted in a different manner.

            Those brands you speak of are most likely sponsoring the champagne in the Paddock Club, hosting yacht parties at the Monaco and Abu Dhabi marinas and engaging their lucrative customers in such a manner.

    6. It’s hardly the first sponsor I’ve seen on an F1 car that I hadn’t previously heard of. There’s been dozens over the decades.

      Hopefully the launch is successful and both they and Williams go from strength to strength together.

      1. @jonw

        It’s hardly the first sponsor I’ve seen on an F1 car that I hadn’t previously heard of. There’s been dozens over the decades.

        Yes, but:
        There is a crucial difference between an unknown sponsor ON an F1 car on the one hand, and an unknown title sponsor that determines the entire livery of an F1 car on the other.
        While I’m not sure if this was your intention, this shaky comparison feels like a poorly executed whataboutism.

        1. The livery itself is nice though.

          1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In Latin: De liveribus non est disputandum.

      2. Just off the top of my head, Petronas, Zepter, Lost Boys, Benetton (yes, seriously; back in those pre-internet days of the ’80s, I didn’t even know what they sold for a couple of years), Red Bull

    7. What’s with all the personal attacks on people who are questioning this company’s credibility? You can reply to a post without resorting to this kind of behaviour you know.

    8. Clever move by Claire to talk up HP Sauce. Maybe she’ll get a sponsorship with Heinz out of this, too!

      1. I was thinking the same thing! I love HP brown sauce and would be very happy to see it on the Williams.

      2. Maybe it should be Daddies?

    9. How can one be an engineer at 20?

      1. @alfa145: The revisionist telling makes it so. Also…that was back in the days when engineer = intern.

        1. @jimmi-cynic “engineer = intern” never heard of that, but thanks

    10. “We were approached by three or four other Formula 1 teams when they realised we were in the market,” he said. “And the reason we’re with Williams is it’s British, I’m British, my company’s British.”

      I thought this old fashioned rhetoric was banned along with grid girls ;)

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