Williams seeks to revive fortunes with Martini

Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:50am EST
 
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By Keith Weir

LONDON (Reuters) - Former champion Formula One team Williams believes a new sponsorship deal with Italian drinks brand Martini can help to make it competitive again after a dismal season in 2013.

The team will race under the Williams Martini name in a new predominantly white car with distinctive blue and red stripes as part of a multi-year agreement.

The sponsorship has added to a mood of optimism that Williams is on the way back after a strong showing from new driver Felipe Massa in pre-season testing.

"It's a nice car, nice design," the Brazilian Massa said at a launch event in west London on Thursday.

"I'm happy to have the most beautiful car on the track. I hope it's as quick, consistent and reliable as it is beautiful," added the former Ferrari driver.

Formula One will enter a new era when the season begins in Australia on March 16. The sport has ditched the old V8 engines and will now have turbocharged V6 units with energy recovery systems in the biggest technical upheaval for years.

Rivals see a chance to break Red Bull's stranglehold on the sport as engineers grapple with the changes.

"We know that one of the most important things is to be reliable. We know that so many teams are struggling with their reliability," Massa said.   Continued...