As we head towards the 2020 launch season, there’s been an unusual amount of chatter around non-title sponsors shifting around between teams – most of it centring around Williams.
First of all, in a somewhat unsurprising development, the team will no longer feature backing from Orlen, the Polish company who pitched up alongside Robert Kubica. What’s more, with Kubica moving to Alfa Romeo as reserve driver, the oil firm are actually taking a title sponsorship slot at that team – with their red and white branding suiting the existing livery of the car.
Secondly, and perhaps more of a blow, Williams are losing the support of long-time partner Unilever, whose Rexona deodorant brand (better known as Sure in the UK and Degree in the US and Canada) has adorned the sidepods of the team’s cars since 2015. Prior to that, Rexona had also sponsored Lotus (now Renault).
A great five years with @Unilever, including partnering with our Engineering Academy for the past two years.
We would like to thank them for their support and wish them well for the future. pic.twitter.com/GIuRNvZyoR
— ROKiT WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) January 10, 2020
Furthermore, on the official termination of the Unilever deal, McLaren have immediately announced their own partnership with the brand:
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 10, 2020
The announcement focuses on a technical partnership with Unilever, so it’s not immediately apparent whether Rexona will specifically appear on the car; although if it does, that increases the chances of a special orange McLaren-branded Sure can to add to my collection of Williams and Lotus-themed ones, so here’s hoping!
It’s not all bad news for Williams, though – with the arrival of Nicholas Latifi, they’ve got a new seam of sponsorship to tap into. Most notably, Latifi comes with the backing of Canadian food company Sofina – and it’s being reported that their Lavazza coffee brand will appear on the Williams’ rear wings this season. With both Lavazza and title sponsor RoKiT featuring predominantly red branding, could this mean a change in colour scheme for Williams this year?