In Depth

F1: Williams retain Jamie Chadwick but lose a major sponsor

Grove-based team suffer a financial blow ahead of the 2020 season

There’s mixed news today at Formula 1 strugglers ROKiT Williams Racing. 

The Grove-based team have announced that talented female racer Jamie Chadwick will continue in the driver academy.

However, it’s also widely reported that a major sponsor is cutting ties ahead of the 2020 F1 season

Chadwick retained

W Series champion Chadwick will continue her work as a development driver within the Williams academy. 

According to a news release, Chadwick will “increase her simulator programme and continue to be fully immersed within the team both trackside and in the factory at Grove”.

The 21-year-old said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity working with the team in my role as development driver. 

“The time spent in the simulator has been invaluable and I have enjoyed every moment, immersing myself within the team. I look forward to continuing to work with Williams this year.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams added: “I am delighted to confirm that Jamie Chadwick will continue her work in the Williams Racing Driver Academy this year. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Jamie develop, and excel, both with the team and her time racing in W Series. 

“Jamie has done an excellent job promoting women in motorsport and we are extremely proud of the work she has done.”

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Canadian Nicholas Latifi drives for Williams during FP1 at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix

Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Williams lose Rexona sponsorship

Despite the positivity surrounding Chadwick, Williams have been dealt a major financial blow ahead of the new campaign. 

Polish sports publication Sportowe Fakty reports that Rexona will not renew its sponsorship contract for the 2020 season. 

Williams have already lost Polish oil company PKN Orlen following Robert Kubica’s departure for Alfa Romeo and GPBlog adds that Rexona is “next out of the exit door” after ending its cooperation early.

According to Sportowe Fakty Rexona is the latest sponsor to leave the team after Symantec, Omnitude and Tata Communications. 

Journalist Łukasz Kuczera said: “At the end of 2019, Williams lost not only Orlen’s support. The sponsorship agreement with Rexona has also expired and has not been renewed. This is another blow to the Grove stable, which in F1 barely makes ends meet.”

High hopes for Latifi’s arrival

After finishing rock bottom of the 2019 constructors’ championship with just one point, Williams go into the new season with a new driver, Nicholas Latifi, who replaces Kubica as George Russell’s team-mate.

Latifi’s arrival means it’s “not all doom and gloom” for Williams, GPBlog reports. 

The driver’s billionaire father Michael Latifi will “prop up” the team financially, but GPBlog’s Louis Shaw says: “Williams knew they can’t rely on that having had Lawrence Stroll just walk away in the past to find a different team.

“The future for Williams is uncertain and the only way they can dig themselves out of the hole they are in is to start performing to attract some bigger sponsors.”

Claire Williams has been delighted with Latifi since he was promoted from test driver. Speaking about the 24-year-old Canadian she said: “He’s become a really great part of the team. He’s got a great personality, he did a good job in Formula 2, and I think he’ll be instrumental in driving the team forward.”

Meanwhile, Williams has today announced a strengthened partnership with Sofina Foods in 2020.

The Canadian food manufacturer, founded by Michael Latifi, first joined the team as a partner for the 2019 F1 season and its name will feature on the back of the FW43’s rear wing from the season-opening race in Australia.

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