Thursday, 6 March 2014

Williams bring Martini back to Formula One

Williams have finally announced their new tie up with drinks firm Martini, bringing about the return of one of motorsport's most iconic brands.

Being without a title sponsor since AT&T's exit at the end of the 2011 season, Martini's signing comes at a time where Williams appear to be going through something of a renaissance with a strengthened technical team, a switch to Mercedes AMG powertrains, a strong performance in pre season testing and a host of other new sponsors coming on board.

"We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing. 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." Said team founder Frank Williams.

Andy Gibson, president of Bacardi Global Brands, Martini's parent company was equally positive about the new partnership: "Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand."

Other iconic Martini tie-ups

Williams isn't te first team to sport the Martini colours, here are a few more memorable Martini liveries:


Martini's most famous Formula One sponsorship deal came with Brabham from 1975 to 1977. After initially appearing on white cars, the livery later switched to one more predominately red for the final two years of the partnership. In the three years of the Martini/Brabham sponsorship, the team achieved two wins and a best constructors finish of second - all coming in 1975.

Martini withdrew after the 1977 season but returned to F1 with Lotus in 1979. The deal lasted one year before Matini departed once more. They were next seen in F1 as a minor sponsor to Ferrari between 2006-2008.


Martini and porsche had tremendous success in sports car racing in the 1970s, winning Le mans in 1971 with the iconic 917. Further Le mans wins came in 1976 and 1977 with the 936. They also took a surprise win the the 1973 Targo Florio road race with the 911 Carrera RS.

Martini also sponsored a one off rally entry for Porsche in the 1978 Safari Rally. The two 911 SCs finished second and fourth. 

More recently Martini's logos have appeared on the Porsche Carrera Cup cars of Sebastien Loeb and on  test mules for the 918 hybrid supercar.


Martini and Lancia first joined forces in 1981, supporting the Italian manufacturer's sports car effort. The sports car link ended in 1986 but the deal with Lancia continued until 1992, as Martini's colours adorned Lancia's World Rally Cars. The tie-up with Lancia's rally team began in 1982, just one year after they began sponsoring their sports car program.

Martini continued with Lancia until the end of the 1992 season, when Lancia dropped it's works team completely. During Martini's time sponsoring Lancia's WRC team, they racked up an incredible seven drivers' titles.


Martini didn't stay away from the WRC for long though, returning with Ford in 1999. The partnership, although delivering 11 wins and coming agonisingly close to the 2001 drivers' title with Colin McRae, the Ford-Martini deal never delivered the same success that Lancia enjoyed and the deal concluded at the end of the 2002 season.

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