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Cheers! Martini pours cash into Williams

2014-03-10 09:21

NEW SPONSOR: Drivers Felipe Massa (right) and Valtteri Bottas show off the new Martini branding for the Williams F1 team for 2014. Image: AFP

JACK DINNING

LONDON, England - F1 driver Felipe Massa is looking forward to using his new team Williams to re-ignite his career... and Martini is helping with the bill.

The former Ferrari driver posted the fastest time of the four-day final test session in Bahrain - 1min33.245 - ahead of the season-opening GP scheduled for March 16 in Melbourne, Australia.

It was an equally heartening session for 16-times F1 champion team Williams for which 2013 was one of its worst campaigns. It managed only five points from the Hungarian and US grands prix though its history includes nine Constructors' and seven F1 Drivers' titles.

HARDER TO DRIVE

Massa said: "I think it's a new time, everything is new, there is a big change for the rules and for everybody."

Williams unveiled drinks brand Martini as its new main sponsor in London on March 6 2014.

Massa believes changes in F1 regulations have made all the cars, including the Mercedes-powered Williams FW36, harder to drive. "With the new regulations, it is a big challenge, there's more torque from the engine but at the same time we have a bit less down force, so the cars are a little more tricky."

Team principal and founder Frank Williams added: "2014 is going to be a fascinating season. Regulation changes of this scale shake up the grid and create opportunities for teams to make a good step forward."

Martin racing stripes have featured prominently in 24-hour sports-car events but the connection with F1 dates back to the 1970's and included a short spell as a minor backer of Ferrari for 2006 and the following two seasons.

Williams said: "It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing return to F1."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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