SPORT

Williams F1 Revives Iconic Livery With Martini Sponsorship (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

06/03/2014 20:01 GMT | Updated 07/03/2014 15:59 GMT

After weeks of anticipation Williams F1 finally revealed their new sponsors for 2014 - Martini - ensuring one of the most iconic racing liveries returns to Formula 1.

The partnership had been widely expected with images of the Williams FW36 decked out in Martini colours appearing on social media sites since January.

williams martini

The Williams FW36 in all its Martini glory

"We are thrilled to welcome Martini to the Williams family and officially launch Williams Martini Racing," said Sir Frank Williams at Thursday's launch.

"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 makes this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini return to Formula 1 once again in unison with Williams."

Andy Gibson, president of Martini parent company Bacardi Global Brands said: "Williams Martini Racing provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the Martini brand."

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Martini's relationship with motorsport began in 1968 with the creation of Martini Racing, pioneering a sponsorship programme that saw the drinks makers become one of the first non-motorsport entrants to sponsor a racing team and was famously associated with Porsche in sportscars.

Martini Racing continued to evolve during the 1970s and it was during that period that the distinctive blue and red livery emerged. In 1972 it moved into F1, partnering first with Tecno briefly and then with Brabham for three years between 1973 and 975. Most recently, Martini was an official partner of Ferrari.

williams martini

Sir Frank Williams thinks 2014 will be a 'fascinating season'

The announcement with Williams comes at an opportune time for the British team. After a season to forget in 2013, this year has got off to a much better start with impressive performances in all three pre-season tests, first in Jerez and then Bahrain. Last week, new driver Felipe Massa topped the timing sheets on the third of the four-day tests.

In addition the team has recruited well over the winter, particularly on the technical side of operations with Massa's former race engineer Rob Smedley joining in the newly-created role of head of vehicle performance and Richard Lockwood moving over from Marussia as head of race strategy.

Jakob Andreasen has joined from Force India as head of engineering operations, Rod Nelson, formerly of Lotus, now heads up the team's testing operation while Craig Wilson returns from Mercedes as head of vehicle dynamics.

Sir Frank said the new regulations in 2014 would "shake up the grid and create opportunities for teams to make a good step forward".

"2014 is going to be a fascinating season."