After Gulf’s sponsorship deal with McLaren came to an end last year, the oil giant has switched to the Williams team – with its logos appearing on the rear wing and nose of the team’s 2023 challenger.
While its brand presence may not appear to be as large as it was at McLaren, which was helped by the colours of the car, Williams says that the full scale of Gulf’s involvement will become clearer on grand prix weekends.
And, with the partnership still in its infancy, Gulf is still contemplating opportunities for it to make the kind of impact it did at Monaco in 2021 when it ran a bespoke livery.
Asked by Autosport whether the idea of a full colour scheme was being considered, Gulf Oil International’s CEO Mike Jones said: “Of course, anything we do in the future had got to be bigger and better than before.
“We have a lot of Gulf fans around the world, we have a lot of 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’ favourite. And we really want our fans to be 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 our activation plans in the near future.”
McLaren ran under Gulf colours at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Williams commercial director James Bower said that the Grove-based squad would be rolling out a number of initiatives based around Gulf’s involvement.
“We agreed on a presence that will run throughout the entire season, and you’ve seen that today,” he said at the team’s livery launch.
“We think that’s going to be very effective. You have just seen the car, but there are other touch points throughout the team.
“You can think about key moments of a race [weekend], like, of course, the refuelling, which links to the partnership and the pit crew and some other components. So we are very much about how we take those iconic assets and bring them to life.
“I think there’s potential for those things to ladder up, as Mike said, into some broader fan activation. So what you’ve seen today is really just the start and you’ll see more unfold as the team is out on track and actually operating during the season.”
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Jones said Gulf’s move to Williams came about after his company and McLaren felt that their relationship had reached a natural conclusion.
“We had a great partnership with McLaren and some real highlights,” he explained. “The Monaco livery, I guess, being at the pinnacle of that.
“But our relationship with McLaren sort of came to a natural end. We’d achieved everything that we probably could with the McLaren Formula 1 team, so we started looking in terms of what was next for us within Gulf for F1.
“We talked a lot to Williams around their plans, not just for 2023 but for the future. And we really believed that Williams are going in the right direction, and we believe there are a lot of good things happening here. It’s very attractive for us as well to have sponsorship across the Academy and Esports.”