British energy drinks company Rich Energy has been looking for a way into Formula 1 for a while, even failing in an attempt to buy Force India following their slip into administration.
Once out-manoeuvred by Lawrence Stroll in the deal that saw his consortium take over the Silverstone based team that is likely to see Lance Stroll leave Williams at the end of the season, Rich Energy began courting other potential suitors upon whose cars they could emblazon their black and gold logo. (Black and gold on a Formula 1 car – where have I seen that before??)
It is thought that this included the Williams F1 Team who are losing Martini as a title sponsor at the end of the 2018 season.
Whether Haas offered Rich Energy a more lucrative financial package than Williams (and others), or whether the drinks firm thought that with Haas’ recent championship position they’d get more bang for their buck in terms of exposure is unknown, but it does leave Williams without a title sponsor for the 2019 season.
It is the second time in a week that Formula 1 has seen a high profile sponsorship deal done. You may remember that I wrote about Coca-Cola’s tie-up with McLaren and what effect that could have on Williams and the rest of F1.
Well this is even closer to home: Williams having held talks with Rich Energy with a view to closing the deal that eventually went to Haas.
Who knows what other talks might be going on behind the scenes to bring an injection of cash to the Williams team in the season following them losing funds from least one, and maybe both of their 2018 drivers.
Indeed Joe Saward (he’s very good, if a little serious – you should check him out if you haven’t already) has suggested that Esteban Ocon, should he join Williams will take with him the BWT sponsorship that Racing Point Force India currently have.
Now, whether or not this has any credence I’m not sure, and if it does, how close Williams are to signing Ocon remains to be seen (a lot of unknowns there…) and so I won’t be rushing out to find myself a pink shirt just yet!
However, it would be an interesting development and tick a lot of boxes for the Williams team – driver and main/title sponsor in one go – and so could make Ocon’s signature even more attractive than it previously seemed.
Having lived through the brouhaha (lovely word) that came about when Williams went from being predominantly blue to red with Rothman’s decision to push their Winfield brand in 1998 I wait with anticipation the reaction of the Williams hardcore to seeing their cars decked out in pink.