Canadian food manufacturer Sofina has expanded their sponsorship deal with the Williams Formula 1 team for the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Sofina, owned by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi‘s father Michael began their association with the team ahead of the 2019 season, coinciding with Latifi junior being appointed reserve driver for the team.
The new deal sees increased investment, in return for greater visibility on the car (the Sofina logo will appear on the FW43’s rear wing), on the drivers’ overalls and helmets, on teamwear, in the pits and in hospitality areas.
“Sofina’s involvement in the sport has been extremely valuable to their long-term vision, and we are committed to helping them achieve their goals. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with them and we look forward to this continuing in the year ahead” said Claire Williams, Williams’ Deputy Team Principal.
Brent Quartermain of Sofina Foods added:
“Having a presence in Formula 1 has brought great value to our company, so it was a logical step to build on that success by increasing our involvement with Williams for the 2020 season.”
The announcement comes in the wake of news that Unilever brand Rexona have not taken up an option to extend their sponsorship beyond the end of the expiration of the current deal in 2019.
It is thought that deal was second only to title sponsor ROKiT in terms of its value to the team (an estimated £15m a year) and combined with the loss of the £20m or so brought to the team by Orlen as part of the agreement to give Robert Kubica a race seat it left an obvious and sizeable gap in funding that needed to be filled.
An expensive 12 months lies ahead during which the team not only have to ready themselves for 2020, but also prepare for major upheaval in 2021 when a new set of technical, sporting and financial regulations come into effect so it was important that this gap was filled.
ROKiT have already stepped up their involvement with Williams with a new deal announced in October 2019 that will see ROKiT Drinks branding on the cars and elsewhere.
The sale of a majority stake in Williams Advanced Engineering late in 2019 for an undisclosed sum boosts the coffers even further.
Will the combination of these three give Williams the funding they need to power their way towards the front of the grid? Only time will tell.