Martini will return to the Formula 1 grid in partnership with Williams, having today announced a multi-year deal that brings together to of the sport’s most iconic brands.
The best-selling Italian sparkling wine company’s involvement in Formula 1, and motorsport in general, dates back to 1968 and the forming of Martini Racing. The bold move saw Martini become one of the first non-motorsport entrants to sponsor a racing team.
As Martini Racing evolved through the 1970s, the distinctive blue and red livery was created and was a staple throughout the heyday of Martini Racing between 1971 and 1996. Martini’s first steps in to Formula 1 came in 1972, parterning with Tecno for a single season, before returning in 1975 alongside Brabham in a three-year deal. The brand was also an official partner of Scuderia Ferrari, the most prestigious and successful team in F1 history, between 2006 and 2008.
“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,” said Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, overseeing marketing for Martini, Andy Gibson. “Martini will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand.”
Not only will Williams share its name with Martini, but the new Williams Mercedes FW36 will feature the iconic red and blue livery, while the drivers’ overalls have a retro Martini feel to them. Fans will also be able to don the colours, with official merchandise available for fans by the start of the European races.
Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa will take the wheel of one of the FW36s for the 2014 season, while Valtteri Bottas will return to the team for his second year of Formula 1.
“We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing,” said Williams Founder and Team Principal, Sir Frank Williams. “Williams and Martini share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to Formula One once again in unison with Williams.”