F1 Racing (UK) - - PRO -

In the late 1960s, when Lo­tus fa­mously changed their colours from British Rac­ing Green and yel­low to red and gold, in def­er­ence to their to­bacco-com­pany spon­sor, rac­ing cars be­came high-speed bill­boards. To­day the liv­ery of ev­ery sin­gle car on the grid dis­tin­guishes that team’s brand and in­cor­po­rates the iden­tity of which­ever spon­sor is pay­ing top dol­lar for the priv­i­lege of a global shop win­dow. But as Chris Mur­ray, Wil­liams’ mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, ex­plains, part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies now ex­tend far be­yond de­cals on a car.

“As an in­de­pen­dent team, all of our part­ners are im­por­tant to us, but the old-fash­ioned model of brand pro­mo­tion is just one as­pect of the re­la­tion­ship,” he says. “Take Unilever, who own a num­ber of brands – one of which is Rex­ona. Yes we de­liver vis­i­bil­ity for them, but we also help them drive sales in lo­cal mar­kets. For ex­am­ple, in China, Lance Stroll went out to a Car­refour su­per­mar­ket to meet the lo­cal me­dia and guests to boost a pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­ity that we had been run­ning in store. But be­yond that, there is a third as­pect to our part­ner­ship – and that’s a syn­ergy pro­gramme.

“We’re now able to share some of our tech­ni­cal know-how, so some of Unilever’s en­gi­neers have been help­ing us and, in re­turn, through Wil­liams Ad­vanced Engi­neer­ing, we’ve been work­ing with Unilever to help them cre­ate bet­ter, whiter wash­ing pow­der and crunchier ice cream – pri­mar­ily through com­pu­ta­tional fluid dy­nam­ics mod­el­ling around flow.”

Mur­ray also cites the JCB dig­ger firm as an­other brand that wanted to tie up with Wil­liams thanks to a sim­i­lar phi­los­o­phy – and one of their val­ues in the re­la­tion­ship is to in­vite key cus­tomers to races. “Like Wil­liams, they are a clas­sic British firm, fam­ily owned with sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion fam­ily man­age­ment, and the value they get from the re­la­tion­ship with us is through the fur­ther re­la­tion­ships they can es­tab­lish in meet­ing CEOS of other com­pa­nies at races. Both the Pad­dock Club and our own mo­torhome can be great places to do busi­ness.”

All the driv­ers’ many me­dia com­mit­ments are care­fully sched­uled in by the comms team

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