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Williams - ROKiT partnership how it come about

By Andrew Hooper
February 12 2019

 Williams - ROKiT partnership how it come about
Kendrick & Claire Williams Portrait

The launch of the 2019 Williams Racing livery would show to the Formula One world a car with a very different livery from previous years as well as the naming of new naming sponsor ROKiT. The launch would also allow ROK Brands chairman Jonathan Kendrick to be seen with Williams' Claire Williams.

In interviews at the launch event Kendrick spoke of how Williams was finally selected after a process that involved considering several other Formula One teams.

Kendrick said: “We were approached by three or four other Formula 1 teams when they realised we were in the market. And the reason we’re with Williams is it’s British, I’m British, my company’s British.

“I love the fact that the Williams name has been above the garage now for a lot longer than other teams that are not here any more: Tyrrell, Lotus, BRM, Cooper, Brabham – Williams is still standing. That was one reason.

“And the other reason quite bluntly is this lady here, Claire. So I met Claire, had a great meeting, bought into her vision, her passion, her drive and strategy. And basically I was all-in in about 45 minutes.”

Kendrick also explained that he had a previous connection with the Williams team which occurred began decades earlier. He added: “I was a Goodyear tyre engineer when I was 20 years old in Wolverhampton. All Goodyear racing tyres for Formula 1 were made in Wolverhampton, where I was born. And in 1978 they sent me out to look after the new team in Buenos Aires

“And quite remarkably I was the tyre engineer for Alan Jones and Frank at the first race in Argentina. And 41 years later here I am as the title sponsor. It’s a dream come true and I’m very proud to be sat here.”

As for the extent of the partnership with Williams Kendrick described it as “a long-term partnership” which he expects to last for “many, many years”.

Claire was to also explain how the partnership with ROKiT came about and it was helped by a signed bottle of HP brown sauce. Claire explained: “Jonathan is a big fan of HP sauce. And he said to me when he was flying in, ‘I’m going to need a bacon roll with some HP sauce’.

“That first meeting there was a bottle of HP signed by both our racing drivers. And I think the deal was pretty much done then.”

Claire also spoke of how she would have been sacked if father and boss Frank had not liked the paint job that was seen at the launch. Claire said: "Frank loved it, and you might be surprised to hear that."

"I was a little nervous presenting it to him. Frank is very traditional and protective of the traditional navy blue and white, but also understanding of the arguments behind the change.

'We are telling the world a very clear story and clear message as to where we are as a company.

'He is fully behind it. I am still here, and if he didn't like it, he would have fired me.'


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