It must be hard for most companies to justify multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals in times like these, but when the chips are down, you'd figure alcohol companies would still be doing just fine, if not better. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Martini, a name with a rich heritage in motorsport sponsorship, has pulled back out of racing again.
The vermouth label celebrated its fortieth year in motorsports just last year. Martini & Rossi first hit the track plastered on the Porsche 917 at Hockenheim, and ever since their iconic red and blue striped livery has appeared on Porsches, Lancias, Alfas, Lotuses and Fords in sportscar racing, touring cars, rallying, Formula One and speedboats. After several years off the scene, Martini returned in 2006 with a small logo on the nose of the Ferrari 248 F1, but when the new F60 was launched last week, their logo was conspicuously missing, replaced by that of Indian automaker Tata's financial division. Martini's sponsorship deal with Ferrari was only signed for three years, covering 2006, 2007 and 2008, reportedly worth $3 million per season. It is speculated, however, that Martini's trackside advertising may continue in the new season. We certainly hope so, if only for the sight of the famous Martini girls, but we may have to do with simply mixing ourselves a drink and maybe buying some Martini-Porsche gear. In the meantime you can read up on the history of Martini Racing at martiniracing.com.