Sports News

Williams hopeful of fresh sponsorship after ROKiT split

LONDON (Reuters) - Williams announced the end of the Formula One team’s title sponsorship with ROKiT on Friday but hoped to bring in new money to replace it.

The struggling team had extended only last July the contract with the company, whose business interests range from mobile phones to beer and vodka brands, through 2023.

Deputy principal Claire Williams said her team, which could be up for sale under a strategic review, had met contractual obligations.

“I have confidence that we can replace the ROKiT money but we also have existing sponsors that we are very happy with and are being incredibly supportive,” she told reporters.

“I think the world is going to be a very different place but I’m sure there will still be appetite to sponsor in our sport, a sport that is undergoing huge change for the good.”

ROKiT said it remained fully committed to its other motorsport partnerships. The company also sponsors Torque Esports’ The Race All-Star series and Legends Trophy.

The F1 season has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will have fewer races than the record 22 originally envisaged. Williams will have a new livery when it gets going.

A $145 million budget cap has been approved for 2021, with further cost saving and technical measures to come to help level the playing field.

The former champions, last for the past two years, have lost a number of partners but Williams defended their record.

“We very much feel that we look after our partners in a fantastic way,” she said.

“We’re working with a new agency and redeveloping the way in which we take Williams to market. Williams has always done a good job attracting new partners into our sport and I believe we will continue to do so.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge