For the past five years, Williams has had one of the only good looking Formula One cars on the grid. Their main sponsor has been Martini, who dressed up the car in their classic, aesthetically pleasing stripes. Sadly, Martini will step away from F1 entirely after the 2018 season is done, so no one can have the stripes.
Everybody loves seeing Martini stripes on F1 cars except Martini’s owners the Bacardi Group, it seems. This year even marks the 50th year of Martini Racing, and they’re still pulling out of F1 after the season is done. Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams explained to Motorsport.com:
While we would both like to do so, the Bacardi Group have told us that they will step away entirely from Formula 1 when our contract expires at the end of this year.
They have many brands to support and obviously their strategic priorities evolve over time.
Motorsport.com believes that the Bacardi Group won’t be diverting any of its resources to F1, as they no longer believe F1 fits into their corporate strategy. Fortunately, Williams should be fine despite the loss of their title sponsor. The addition of Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin brought significant funding from SMP Racing to the team, and their other sponsors are staying put.
Yet this is still truly awful news for our eyeballs. On a grid dominated by boring color blorps, seeing these classic stripes gently following the contours of Williams’ bright white car is a crisp breath of fresh air.
While I’m not the biggest fan of rehashing the same classic liveries until the end of time without a good reason, a Martini car has to have Martini stripes, and it’s not like most of the F1 grid is breaking any new ground in design. So, here’s your chance to wow us, Williams: bring us a fun new F1 car next year that makes us forget that we miss the Martini stripes.