Martini will end their sponsorship of the Williams F1 Team at the end of 2018 and step away from Formula 1 completely, as their parent company, Bacardi Group, feels the sport is no longer aligned to its strategic objectives.
The sponsorship deal began in 2014, and has seen the likes of Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll race in the Martini colours, while Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin will don those colours in 2018.
According to Motorsport.com, the two parties discussed a potential extension to the contract with Williams, while Martini also discussed the possibility of switching to another team, but the final decision was made by Bacardi Group to severe its ties to the sport completely.
“We have discussed extending beyond 2018,” said Claire Williams, deputy team principal of Williams, to Motorsport.com. “While we would both like to do so, the Bacardi Group have told us that they will step away entirely from Formula 1 when our contract expires at the end of this year.
“They have many brands to support and obviously their strategic priorities evolve over time.”
Whilst this is a blow to the team, Williams have a good number of sponsors on board, including recent addition Acronis, while Sirotkin’s arrival comes with a significant investment from SMP Racing.
Stroll’s father, Lawrence Stroll, also has financial interest in the team, with Williams insisting the team is ‘financially stable‘, though she would not be drawn into delving any deeper into the team’s finances.