Rumours Sponsorship

BWT’s F1 musical chairs – how they got into a negotiation triangle

The future of BWT, an Austrian water treatment company, in Formula 1 was in jeopardy at the end of the 2020 season after months of rumoured disputes with previous partner Aston Martin.

BWT, short for Best Water Technology, started its motorsport sponsorship journey in 2016, when they sponsored Lucas Auer’s Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM car.

The Austrian brand joined F1 in 2017 with the British marque, then-called Force India, bringing colour to a monotonous grid as the car livery became pale pink, a demand of the sponsor.

In 2020, BWT increased its involvement with the outfit and becoming title sponsor. This resulted in the entry for the 2020 season as BWT Racing Point F1 Team.

As the season progressed it’s apparent that the two parties could not reach an agreement regarding the future of their partnership.

BWT, famous for wanting major control over their associated liveries, was understandably not content with the team now moving to a British racing green identity and started looking at other alternatives in the sport.

A week past the final race, while FIA updated the F1 2021 entry list where the British marque’s team name omitted the BWT brand, reports from Germany linked IT giant Cognizant as Aston Martin’s new title sponsor.

Cognizant’s deal with Aston Martin was announced on January 7 2021, revealed as being a long-term technical partnership in conjunction with the road-car division of Aston Martin.

As BWT still showed its interest in being in F1, apparent in its marketing efforts for the British Grand Prix, it had a limited set of teams available for negotiation.

Haas F1 were the first team to be approached by BWT, negotiating a main sponsorship deal with split 50/50 livery. However, talks were dropped after a dispute with the sponsors brought in by Mazepin.

Haas’ marketability went to an all-time low with leaving sponsor JACK&JONES also issuing a public statement in lieu of the Russian driver’s behaviour, who was guaranteed to be staying at the team he’s rumoured to take-over in 2022.

BWT also initiated discussions with Williams Racing. A deal, where the entire car expected to don the now-iconic pink colour, was drafted. This deal has not yet been finalised as more offers are on the table for the classic team.

The Grove-based team had a shakedown in Silverstone on February 17 in a plain blue car, reminiscent of 2014 when they ran a similar livery before announcing title sponsor Martini.

Williams is unveiling their 2021 challenger in March 5, having already released their teamwear collection in collaboration with Umbro, implementing a navy blue palette across all items.

UPDATE – 19/02/2021

According to our sources, BWT and Williams Racing now appear unlikely. Williams are due to finalise their negotiations with a different partner.

The Austrian water treatment company is still focused on their motorsport sponsorship programme and more news are to come about this soon.

Out of the three teams BWT held talks with, only Aston Martin signed a new title partner leaving Haas and Williams still shopping for sponsors.

One of the other names linked to Williams Racing was the former Haas F1 title partner RICH Energy. RICH was involved in discussions with the team but the two parties failed to reach an agreement. 

Haas F1 are still expected to announce a prominent partnership before the start of the season.

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