MONTMELO, Spain — Williams has confirmed Martini will end its sponsorship of the team when its current agreement expires at the end of 2018.
Martini has been Williams’ title sponsor since the start of the 2014 season and the brand’s stripes have adorned the team’s cars during that time. The end of the deal will see Martini withdraw from the sport altogether and one of the sport’s most iconic liveries drop from the grid once more.
“Martini are leaving us at the end of this year,” deputy team principal Claire Williams confirmed. “It’s the end of their contract and we have been in discussion for many months now about an extension beyond 2018 as you would expect.
“They have been a really important partner of ours for the last five years and we were incredibly lucky that they chose to join the team back in 2013 — 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 is pretty impressive and showed a lot of faith on their part.
“They have had a very successful time with us and achieved their objectives and I think every brand is entitled to evolve their marketing objectives over time, as you would expect, and that’s what Martini are doing. They are withdrawing not just from Williams but the whole of Formula One and you won’t see them on another team in 2019.”
Asked how the team will plug the gap in funding that the loss of the Martini deal will create, Williams added: “As you would expect with us being an independent team we have a very active commercial department who are always looking for new partners.
“We brought in new partners over the winter and we have a very good partner community at the moment. I don’t want to sit there and say we are now looking for a title partner because it’s not about looking for a title partner, it’s about ensuring we have the budget to go racing, whether that comes from a new title partner coming on board or a new group of partners we will have to wait and see how the situation evolves over the course of the year.
“Being a listed company, everyone can see our results and we are financially stable at the moment. I can’t talk too much about it because we are in a closed period, but we are not unduly concerned about them moving at the end of the year.”