The commercial future of the WilliamsF1 team has been assured for the medium term with an innovative agreement being announced. Under the arrangement, engine supplier BMW also undertakes a commercial agreement with the WilliamsF1 organisation which will assist the team in securing further significant sponsorship investments. This arrangement will commence at the start of the 2000 FIA Formula One World Championship season in line with BMW's commitment for engine supply.
From the start of the 2000 season, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, as the team will be known, will present its cars in a striking new BMW-styled livery.
This moves marks the end of the WilliamsF1 team's six-year association with the Rothmans Tobacco Group during which time, to date, the team has won thirty-two Grands Prix and five FIA Formula One World Championship titles.
Commenting on the agreement, Frank Williams said: "This partnership provides a sound commercial foundation for our activities and will allow us to work in conjunction with BMW for the global marketing of the team. Additionally this provides an attractive proposition for significant new investors and the integration of our existing sponsorship base.
Everyone at WilliamsF1 is aware that this announcement also marks the end of a highly successful relationship with the Rothmans Tobacco Group and through their support and enthusiasm we have enjoyed a very successful period of our history. For that, we shall be forever grateful for Rothmans' belief in our abilities to offer a valuable marketing programme."
BMW's Motorsport Director, Gerhard Berger was clearly delighted with this announcement. "To BMW, Formula One represents a major technical challenge, which at the same time has an important communicative function for the company as a whole as well as for its products. With a view to these two objectives, the new agreement, which complements the technical agreement which was signed with WilliamsF1 in 1997, offers ideal conditions. We are looking forward to this common future with WilliamsF1."
Also delighted with the announcement was BMW's Dr Mario Theissen: "We shall soon be returning to top-flight international motorsport and the supreme technical standard fits in perfectly with BMW's high-tech image. This new agreement now ideally complements the technical agreement with WilliamsF1 and underlines the BMW Formula One strategy."