The RoKit Williams F1 team unveiled a sky blue and white livery on Monday, following Toro Rosso’s launch. However, the story behind the livery is a very interesting one indeed.
A signed bottle of HP brown sauce helped seal Williams new title sponsorship deal with Rokit, deputy team principal Claire Williams revealed.
Speaking at the launch of the team’s new livery and title sponsor yesterday, Williams explained how she successfully pitched the deal to ROK Brands chairman Jonathan Kendrick.
“Jonathan is a big fan of HP sauce,” said Williams. “And he said to me when he was flying in, ‘I’m going to need a bacon roll with some HP sauce’.
“That first meeting there was a bottle of HP signed by both our racing drivers. And I think the deal was pretty much done then.”
Kendrick revealed Rokit were in discussions with rival F1 teams about a potential deal for the 2019 F1 season.
“We were approached by three or four other Formula 1 teams when they realised we were in the market,” he said. “And the reason we’re with Williams is it’s British, I’m British, my company’s British.
“I love the fact that the Williams name has been above the garage now for a lot longer than other teams that are not here any more: Tyrrell, Lotus, BRM, Cooper, Brabham – Williams F1 is still standing. That was one reason.
“And the other reason quite bluntly is this lady here, Claire. So I met Claire, had a great meeting, bought into her vision, her passion, her drive and strategy. And basically I was all-in in about 45 minutes.”
The full extent of the multi-year deal has not yet been confirmed but Kendrick described it as “a long-term partnership” which he expects to last for “many, many years”.
He also explained how his connection to the team extends began decades earlier. “I was a Goodyear tyre engineer when I was 20 years old in Wolverhampton,” he said.
“All Goodyear racing tyres for Formula 1 were made in Wolverhampton, where I was born. And in 1978 they sent me out to look after the new team in Buenos Aires
“And quite remarkably I was the tyre engineer for Alan Jones and Frank at the first race in Argentina. And 41 years later here I am as the title sponsor. It’s a dream come true and I’m very proud to be sat here.”