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Sofina steps up Williams commitment amid sponsor departures

(by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Canadian food products manufacturer Sofina Foods has extended and expanded its sponsorship deal with Formula 1 motor-racing team Williams.

Sofina first joined the team as a partner for the 2019 season. In 2020, its brand will feature on the back of the FW43’s rear wing from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

As well as on-car branding, Sofina will feature throughout the Williams garage and hospitality areas, on teamwear and the race suits of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. The latter driver is a new addition to the Williams garage for the 2020 season, with his father, Michael Latifi, being the founder, chairman and chief executive of Sofina Foods.

Brent Quartermain, Sofina Foods executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, said: “Having a presence in Formula 1 has brought great value to our company, so it was a logical step to build on that success by increasing our involvement with Williams for the 2020 season.

“Formula 1 is a sport that has mass global appeal and is perfectly suited to our international growth ambitions. We’re looking forward to supporting our friends at ROKiT Williams Racing and aiming for a successful season both on and off the track.”

Today’s announcement comes after it emerged that one of Williams’ main sponsors has opted not to extend its deal with the team. Since the 2015 season, Williams has held a multi-year partnership with Unilever promoting the global consumer goods company’s Rexona brand.

However, Unilever and Rexona are not mentioned on Williams’ commercial partner portfolio, with the Polish media outlet Sportowe Fakty reporting that the deal was not renewed following its expiry at the end of the 2019 season.

It was recently announced that Williams’ F1 rival, Alfa Romeo Racing, had signed up Polish petroleum company PKN Orlen as official co-title sponsor in a deal that also saw Robert Kubica remain in the sport as a reserve driver.

PKN Orlen has sponsored Kubica – the only Polish driver to have participated in F1 – throughout his career, most recently as a partner of Williams during the 2019 season.

In October, Williams was boosted by the news that ROK Group further enhanced its association with the team through its ROKiT Drinks brand agreeing a multi-year sponsorship deal.

The latest agreement came after ROK Group’s ROKiT Phones arm in July struck an extension to its title sponsorship deal with Williams. ROKiT’s original contract was only signed in February, but the company committed to extend the deal from three to five years, taking the relationship through to the end of the 2023 season.