Williams has announced a new partnership with Gulf Oil when unveiling its tweaked livery for the 2023 season.
The Grove-based team is finalizing its new car – the FW45 – that will include a revised sidepod concept due to updated power unit cooling options, on top of “modifications to the front suspension layout as well as the major external aerodynamic surfaces”, with the target of a more efficient car that includes greater downforce levels and improved handling.
The FW45 will run for the first time on February 13 at Silverstone with both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant driving, but on Monday the team revealed its livery for the coming season.
Williams is undergoing a number of changes at a senior level, with James Vowles set to start work in two weeks as team principal in place of Jost Capito, while FX Demaison also departed from his role as technical director.
However, the team is progressing commercially with confirmation of the partnership with Gulf Oil as well as further new deals with financial services company Stephens, Michelob ULTRA and PureStream, that were all included on the updated 2023 design.
Chairman of the board Matthew Savage says the new partnerships are a sign of the team’s attractiveness and direction heading into the new year.
“As Williams Racing continues its transformation, we’re proud to unveil this year’s livery,” Savage said. “We are excited about this year’s car, and I cannot thank the entire team at Grove enough for their hard work to get ready for the season.
“I am delighted to welcome both new and existing partners to our journey. With our new team principal James Vowles joining us later this month, as well as our exciting driver line up of Alex and Logan, Williams Racing will be giving its all in 2023.”
While the livery is largely similar to last year’s design – the major difference being a matte finish – Gulf Oil International CEO Mike Jones says it was important Gulf protected its iconic color scheme having run it as a one-off with McLaren in Monaco in 2021, but did not rule out a return at some stage.
“Of course anything we do in the future has got to be bigger and better than before,” Jones said. “We have a lot of Gulf fans around the world, we have a lot of requests for our livery. We want our livery to be special.
“We’re launching a number of fan-centric activation plans. We always feel that Gulf is the fans’ favorite and we really want our fans to be a part of that, so of course we’re looking at different solutions for that right across the Formula 1 spectrum, and we’ll be launching activation plans in the new future.”
Jones also elaborated on why Gulf had left McLaren for Williams over the winter, having had a deep history with Zak Brown’s team.
“We had a great partnership with McLaren, some real highlights – the Monaco livery I guess being at the pinnacle of that – but our relationship with McLaren kind of came to a natural end, we’d achieved everything that we probably could with the McLaren Formula 1 team and so we started looking at what was next for us within Gulf and Formula 1.
“We talked a lot to Williams around their plans not just for 2023 but the future, and we really believed that Williams are going in the right direction, there’s a lot of good things happening here. It was very attractive for us as well to have sponsorship across the academy and esports.
“Gulf is known as the iconic brand, iconic is sometimes misinterpreted as ‘old’, and esports was very attractive to us because it brings Gulf to the younger generation.
“And then the culture here is very much one of passion, very much one of teamwork, we really liked what we saw and we felt it was a really good fit.”