WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING PUTS THE STRIPES BACK ON THE GRID-
Iconic MARTINI® Brand Returns to Formula One Racing as Title Partner of the Legendary Williams™ Team
LONDON, March 6, 2014— MARTINI®, the world’s leading vermouth and best-selling Italian sparkling wine, in partnership with Williams, today announced a multi-year agreement that unites two of the most iconic brands in Formula One racing, creating WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING. The announcement was made during an event held here, as part of the 2014 team launch.
“We are thrilled to welcome MARTINI to the Williams family and officially launch WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING,” said Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal, Williams. “Williams and MARTINI share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of MARTINI Racing™ return to Formula One™ once again in unison with Williams.”
“The decision to partner with Williams was a natural one for us as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for the MARTINI brand to connect with consumers through one of their lifestyle passions, Formula One racing,” said Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, who oversees marketing for MARTINI other premium brands in the Bacardi portfolio. “MARTINI will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the MARTINI brand.”
WALFRIDSON CONFIRMS SIX-ROUND WORLD RX CAMPAIGN-
Walfridson joins World RX following three successful seasons competing in Crosskart, where the 20-year-old Swede racked up 22 race wins and 35 podium spots. Walfridson, who is the nephew of well-known rallycross driver Stig-Olov and former European Rallycross Champion Per-Inge, has clinched a total of nine Crosskart titles since 2009 and will be a strong championship contender in this year’s Euro RX.
“When this opportunity arose, I immediately wanted to go for it. Moving from Crosskart to a Supercar is something I really wanted to do – it will be a big challenge but I’m keen to make progress,” enthused Walfridson.
Walfridson will embark on his World RX campaign at Lydden Hill in Great Britain at the end of May, and will also compete in Hell, Norway (14-15 June), Höljes, Sweden (5-6 July), Mettet, Belgium (12-13 July), Buxtehude, Germany (20-21 September) and finally at Franciacorta in Italy (27-28 September).
“Our goal is to finish in the top three of Euro RX at the end of the year. That is my only aim and together with my team, I will strive to make it happen,” concluded a defiant Walfridson.
Martin Anayi, Managing Director of World RX for IMG Motorsport – a division of IMG, the global sport, fashion and media company – spoke of the growing appeal of World RX to drivers of all ages.
“We’re seeing a huge variety of drivers signing up to World RX and Euro RX this year which is fantastic for creating diversity in our Championship,” explained Anayi. “To have young racing drivers such as Lukas bursting onto the rallycross scene combined with experienced drivers such as Petter Solberg is hugely exciting for both the fans and our young drivers who will be pitting themselves against some of the most experienced guys in the sport. Lukas has already proved his talent in Crosskart and with a strong family history in rallycross, it will be very interesting to watch Lukas’ transition to a Supercar this season.”
DRIVER COMMENTS FROM BAHRAIN—
SEBASTIAN VETTEL: “We did a lot of laps today so that was useful, We tried to do a race distance today; for one reason or another that didn’t work out, but in two week’s time things should look a little bit different. Obviously it’s difficult to know where the car is. It’s not just the number of laps you do, but also the type. There are so many different running options, not just with tyres and high or low fuel, there are engine options as well – full power, low power etc, so it’s impossible to say where we are. We know we have to catch up in a lot of areas, but that said, I’m happy today, we did a lot of laps, we learned a lot and it was a positive end to a tough week here.”
Romain Grosjean: “We’re not in an ideal situation. There is a lot of new technology for everyone to understand, but even though we have stopped many times and spent a lot of time in the garage, each time we run the car we are learning something new. We’re all working as hard as we can in Enstone and I’m sure that Renault Sport F1 is doing the same. We now have two weeks to find a lot more performance and reliability.”
VALTERI BOTTAS: I think our final day of testing was very good, right up to a very unlucky failure just one run before the end. Overall, it was a still a good day as we had no other issues throughout and made a lot of progress with the car set-up. I think with this amount of testing we are as prepared for Melbourne as we can be. The team has done a great job and thank you also to Mercedes-Benz. We still need to work very hard in these next two weeks but I overall I’m happy with how testing has gone for us. As I didn’t have the chance to do a quick time on the supersoft tyre today, I am looking forward to picking up where we left off when we get to Melbourne.
NICO HULKENBERG: “The final day of testing went pretty well. In the end we didn’t do the race simulation, but we did some long runs and signed off a lot of other things on the job list. We didn’t do as many laps as yesterday, but we still made progress and learned some new things. So it’s been two good days for me and I’m feeling pretty satisfied. You always want more time to prepare, but I think we’re in good shape. The car has come a long way since the first Jerez test and we have made progress every day.”
KAMUI KOBAYASHI: “106 laps is a good way for us to finish the tests, even though the clutch problem we had in the last hour meant we didn’t have a chance to do any of the performance runs we’d planned for today. However, I’m very happy we were able to have two such good final days in Bahrain as it’s showed that our reliability is good and that could be very important in Australia and for the whole season, especially when you look at how quite a few of the other teams have struggled both here and in Jerez.
“Today we had a very long program, starting in the morning with a number of short runs to work through setup changes and we’ve made good progress in that area. In the afternoon we went onto longer runs, looking at fuel and energy management strategy and tyre wear and we have a lot of data to work with on that – again, that will be critical in the races so to have had the chance to start to understand how the car behaves with different modes is very important.
“Next week I have a couple more days in the simulator at the factory and then it’ll be time to go to Australia. I’m obviously excited about getting back to racing and with what we’ve achieved in testing I think it could be a very interesting start to the 2014 season.”
BAHRAIN TEST DAY THREE WILLIAMS ON TOP—
Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: Having covered most of the bases in terms of reliability, we concentrated more on performance today as we had planned to do. As we don’t get the opportunity to test very much on a race weekend, we really look to do some significant tests when we have the tyres available to do so and we did some pretty positive tests today to continue learning about the car. This afternoon we did a full qualifying simulation with Felipe and we are pleased with how that turned out, so it’s been a good day for us.
Felipe Massa: We had a very good day today doing almost 100 laps. We did a lot more performance work in the car which is something that we haven’t done so much of so far. I’m really happy with the car and feel we found a good balance. We did so much work on the set-up but it is very important that we go to Australia prepared. Of course you are always happy when you see your name at the top in first place, but as well as performance, today was good for the mileage and reliability of the car which we know is needed for Australia. You can never be sure that you are 100% ready for the first race, but I feel that what we have done in these days testing has been important for making sure that we have a car that can not only get to the end of the race, but that will have good performance as well.
MA QING HUA COMPLETES CITROËN RACING’S WTCC LINEUP—
- Citroën Racing is delighted to welcome driver Ma Qing Hua to its team for the World Touring Car Championship.
- At the age of 26, Ma Qing Hua has solid experience in single-seater racing, right up to Formula 1 level. He also won the China Touring Car Championship (1600cc class) in 2011.
- Ma Qing Hua’s programme for 2014 includes the Moscow, Spa-Francorchamps, Shanghai and Macao meetings. He will also take part in a fifth race, which has yet to be determined.
Ma Qinq Hua has been recruited to join Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and José-María López in Citroën Racing’s WTCC team. Like Citroën itself, which is stepping up its international expansion, the team representing the brand will have a very international flavour, with drivers from three different continents.
“In 2013, China became our number-one market in terms of vehicles manufactured,” confirms Arnaud de Lamothe, Citroën’s Director of Communications, Marketing and Sport. “We achieved 26% growth in 2013, outperforming the market as a whole, which grew by 19%.” Orders for the C-Elysée, which is produced at our Wuhan plant, have already exceeded our objectives. For 2014, our ambition is to sell more than 100,000 units of this model on the Chinese market. For all these reasons, and with the support of the joint venture Dongfeng Citroën, we wanted to have a Chinese driver competing in one of our C-Elysée WTCCs.”
To ensure that this role went to an excellent driver, Citroën Racing spent several months testing a number of potential candidates, before selecting Ma Qing Hua for his strong performances. A native of Shanghai, the 26-year-old driver has amassed impressive single-seater experience, first in Asia and then in Europe. Having driven for the HRT and Caterham teams, he made it to the fringes of Formula 1, driving in free practice at five Grand Prix.
Ma Qing Hua has also taken part in the China Touring Car Championship. After an incomplete programme in 2010, he won the CTCC 1600cc class the following season. This technical experience enabled him to quickly prove his potential in the C-Elysée WTCC.
“We chose Ma Qing Hua not just for his nationality, but also for his performances,” explains Yves Matton, Managing Director of Citroën Racing. “He made a positive impression on us during various tests in the C-Elysée WTCC. We won’t be able to enter four cars in every round of the championship in this first season, but we’ve managed to put together a coherent programme. Ma will compete in the last two European rounds – Moscow and Spa-Francorchamps – before lining up for his two home meetings, in Shanghai and Macao. The fifth race in his programme will be determined at a later date.”
It is a great honour to have been chosen by Citroën Racing for this ambitious programme,” says Ma Qing Hua. “I really enjoyed working with the team during the test sessions I was invited to take part in. I am really excited about the opportunity to race for a manufacturer with such a winning record and I will do my best to help Citroen to keep winning! It would, of course, be particularly special for me to have a good result in Macau and my hometown of Shanghai. But for now, I’m just looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the C-Elysée WTCC.”