As a car culture, we throw the word "iconic" too much, but if there's anything it has ever applied to – when it comes to racing liveries especially – surely it's the legendary stripes of Martini Racing. The Italian vermouth brand has sponsored everything from Porsche endurance racers to Lancia rally cars. It's followed Ford into the WRC and Alfa Romeo into DTM. It's even sponsored offshore racing powerboats. But when it comes to Formula One, it's come and gone over the years.

Martini Racing started out sponsoring the unsuccessful Italian squad Tecno in 1972, then switched to the World-Champion Brabham racing team run by Bernie Ecclestone. It sponsored Lotus in 1979, then disappeared from the scene for decades until its logo showed up on the Ferrari 248 F1 in 2006, only to vanish again into the history books. But now it's back.

As promised, Martini has penned a new deal with the Williams F1 team to see its stripes adorn the Mercedes-powered FW36 which Felipe Massa and Finnish newcomer Valtteri Bottas will be driving in the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship. The rechristened Williams Martini Racing has just revealed its car in full race livery – complete with those red, navy and light blue stripes draped over white bodywork – ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that will open the season in Melbourne next weekend.

The partnership gives Williams the best-looking livery and highest-profile sponsor since Rothmans in the 1990s, and gives us one more reason to pull for the plucky underdogs that have been outshining the frontrunners in pre-season testing.
Show full PR text
Iconic MARTINI® Brand Returns to Formula One™ Racing as Title Partner of the Legendary Williams™ Team

LONDON, March 6, 2014- MARTINI®, the world's leading vermouth and best-selling Italian sparkling wine, in partnership with Williams, today announced a multi-year agreement that unites two of the most iconic brands in Formula One™ racing, creating WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING. The announcement was made during an event held here, as part of the 2014 team launch.

"We are thrilled to welcome MARTINI to the Williams family and officially launch WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING," said Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal, Williams. "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. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of MARTINI Racing™ return to Formula One™ once again in unison with Williams."

"The decision to partner with Williams was a natural one for us as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for the MARTINI brand to connect with consumers through one of their lifestyle passions, Formula One™ racing," said Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, who oversees marketing for MARTINI other premium brands in the Bacardi portfolio. "MARTINI will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the MARTINI brand."

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Months Ago
      The lipstick doesn't make the pig! Let's hope that team's performance lives up to the expectations!
      • 9 Months Ago
      We had a boring result last season but the new formula should mix things up. Massa has something left. He will surprise this year and Bottas is really talented. With rules change providing a level playing field let's hope that Williams Martini Racing is up to the challenge as a team.
      • 9 Months Ago
      Either Williams has really tall spokeswomen or their drivers are really short.
      • 9 Months Ago
      I have a bottle of Martini Rosso. Think I'll make a Manhattan to celebrate!
      Ben Lee
      • 9 Months Ago
      The "new" livery looks great but I thought alcohol sponsors were banned just as cigarettes. Sends a weird message to me
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Ben Lee
        Certain countries may advertising restrictions But McLaren has Johnny Walker as well as other teams with Alcohol.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Ben Lee
        Tobacco advertising in motorsports is completely illegal in all the EU, while alcohol advertising legality has been left to the discretion of each member. A few ban it outright, but it's permissible in enough venues that we'll see the full Martini livery more often than not. Not sure why you feel the message is weird. In moderation, alcohol is tolerable, even healthy. Tobacco. . .not so much.
      • 9 Months Ago
      Bottas is no longer a "newcomer". He has a season of F1 under his belt.
        • 9 Months Ago
        if you haven't noticed, autoblog is clueless and (almost always) inappropriately late when it comes to their F1 coverage. BUT... these are some nice high res pics. love the car. GO MASSA!!!! :)