Skip to main content

BT brings Williams Formula 1 up to top speed

When Felipe Massa and Valteri Bottas step out of their cars next year the BT logo will be visible on their head rests.

Sponsorship of every square inch of a victorious racing car is seen by millions across the world and for that reason alone it is expensive.

While BT will be providing its latest communications technology (opens in new tab) to the Williams Martini racing team it is still possible that BT is paying an additional amount for the advertising that includes the Williams Mercedes FW37 car, as well as the team hospitality and garage environment in the recently announced strategic technology partnership.

The multi-year deal will see the Formula 1 team make use of BT global network services, and BT will deliver a converged fixed/mobile solution hosted in the cloud and delivered on a range of devices.

Although the deal has only just been announced the two companies have been working together to leverage the BT network services to improve elements of the Formula 1 racing team operations.

Differences of seconds can make a significant difference and BT has shared its expertise to improve car performance through the use of video analysis of races, big data services and helping with applications based on video, telemetry and voice.

There are still some final negotiations on the deal to be carried out and in some ways it is strange that it has been announced now. One suspects, however, that BT has made a commitment to advertise on the car already and it is merely a number of details that need to be ironed out.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive, BT, no doubt looking forward to Silverstone later in the year commented: “It’s really exciting to be joining forces with Williams. They are one of the most successful and well known Formula One teams in the world.

"Both BT and Williams have an illustrious history of competing successfully at the top with cutting edge technology. This is the beginning of a real partnership with two great British brands determined to win as a team on the world stage.”

That this is a deal of importance to Williams themselves in such a technical sport is without doubt. Pat Symonds, chief technical officer at Williams Martini Racing explains some of the benefits he expects to see: “Vastly increased network speed can totally alter the way we work. The benefits for our routine operations are self-evident and witnessed by an enormous increase in our ‘off site’ analytical ability.

"The less obvious benefits include the ability to gain higher speed access to our crucial information sources, independently of where we are racing. This includes, for example, the ability to interrogate remotely our CAD system back at base, build new assemblies and then export the required information for use on the racetrack in a matter of minutes.“

Vodafone had a successful seven-year sponsorship partnership with McLaren and it will be interesting to see whether the relationship with BT bring the same success on the track for Williams and in business deals for BT.

There are no doubt several BT account managers and clients who will be interested to see what hospitality deals are around as a result of this new relationship.