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Williams: Loss of Latifi’s F1 sponsorship not as big as suggested

Williams claims it is in a “more robust” commercial position heading into the new Formula 1 season despite the loss of income from former driver Nicholas Latifi’s sponsors.

Williams FW45 livery detail

Latifi was dropped by Williams at the end of last year after spending three seasons with the team, during which time a number of his sponsors featured prominently on the car, including Lavazza and Sofina.

Williams unveiled the livery for its new FW45 car at its Grove base on Monday, as well as announcing the arrival of a new partner in the form of iconic brand Gulf Oil.

James Bower, the commercial director of Williams, said the team was in a “multiple year commercial plan of how we rebuild” and denied the impact of losing Latifi’s sponsors was as big as suggested.

“There's a perception about lost revenue from recent changes; there's a perception, but the reality is slightly different,” said Bower.

“We are launching a number of new partners as we go into the season as well. So I think we're in a more robust position than the team has been in for for a number of years.

“We're ambitious and aggressive in terms of how we are in the market as well, and how we're investing in building the Williams brand.

“And of course, having Gulf as part of a commercial partner portfolio for that journey is really exciting.”

Williams FW45 livery detail

Williams FW45 livery detail

Photo by: Williams

In addition to Gulf, Williams also unveiled a number of other new partnerships as part of Monday’s announcement, including agreements with independent financial services company Stephens, US beer brand Michelob Ultra, and trading company PureStream.

The team is poised for extra attention in the United States this year by virtue of its American driver, Logan Sargeant, who graduates from Formula 2.

Asked about the increased interest from American sponsors, Bower said Williams had already been “investing in a number of areas of our proposition for partnerships”, particularly in the United States.

“We actually have an office in America, in New York,” said Bower. “We have a large fan engagement team based out of that office, which is led by the former SVP of fan engagement from the NFL, with a number of American sports marketing specialists in that team.

“We are investing in fan activations around the US races and assets that we had in market. So when those things come together, then with Logan, with Jamie Chadwick on the academy as well, competing in Indy NXT, it's building a kind of centre of gravity that is helping us commercially.”

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