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Monday, March 8, 2021

Haas and Williams linked to BWT sponsor move

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BWT was the title sponsor of Racing Point last year, having worked with the Silverstone-based outfit since 2017.

Its famous pink livery proved to be a standout in the sport, and achieved its most famous moment when Sergio Perez triumphed at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year.

However, Racing Point’s rebranding as Aston Martin, and preference to run a British racing green livery, meant that BWT’s partnership with the team ended.

While there has been no confirmation that BWT will continue its involvement in F1, sources have indicated to Motorsport.com that the company has been looking at two choices to keep its colours in grand prix racing.

One option is to move to Haas, which has been without a title sponsorship since a deal with energy drinks company Rich Energy collapsed midway through 2019.

Although requests to the American-owned team and BWT to comment on the possibility have not been responded to, rumours about the tie-up have accelerated after some intriguing comments in the German media.

With Mick Schumacher making his F1 debut for Haas this year, his uncle Ralf suggested to German publication Express that there could be a new sponsor and new colours for the team.

“A sponsor has just become available,” said Schumacher. “Not that this particular colour comes into play with Mick.”

Ralf Schumacher’s son David (Mick’s cousin) has competed in BWT’s pink colours in the past, during his time with the BWT-Mucke team in Formula 4.

It is understood, however, that Haas may not be BWT’s only option, with sources revealing that the company has held talks with the Williams team too.

Williams is undergoing a revamp under new investors Dorilton Capital, and appeared to run its new FW43B in a plain blue livery at Silverstone on Wednesday.

Despite the early outing for the car, the team is not planning to hold a launch event until March 5. The delay until then before revealing its 2021 challenger could be linked to the finalising of new sponsorship deals.

Williams has declined to comment on the specific of any BWT talks, however.

A team spokesperson said: “Williams Racing is shaping an exciting new brand direction and commercial strategy and this is resulting in significant interest as we begin a new era for the team.

“By their nature these discussions are confidential so as a policy, we do not comment on any specifics or speculation.”

BWT is active in the field of water treatment across a range of business, including drinking water systems, the pharmaceutical industry, heating and air conditioning systems and swimming pools.

The boss and main shareholder is Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s friend Andreas Weibenbacher with his WAB Group.

The company had originally hoped to get involved in F1 in 2017 as a sponsor at Mercedes, but was only interested in doing so if it could rebrand the whole car pink.

With Mercedes not willing to move away from its silver colours, a deal was instead struck between BWT and Force India for it to be principal sponsor. That then stepped up for BWT to be title sponsor in 2020.

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