Budweiser, the world's best-selling beer, and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, a global leader in Formula One, today announced the "King of Beers" will serve as an "official sponsor" of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. The multi-year agreement is Budweiser's first sponsorship in Formula One and builds upon the brand's international sports marketing portfolio.
As part of the agreement, the Budweiser logo will be featured on race cars driven by two of the sport's hottest drivers -- Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher -- as well as on driver and team uniforms. The brand also will have rights to use the drivers' images, team logo and team cars in advertising and sales promotion initiatives.
The sponsorship announcement comes on the heels of two consecutive one-two finishes for Schumacher and Montoya at the European Grand Prix on June 29 and the French Grand Prix on July 6. Budweiser will debut its sponsorship of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team at the British Grand Prix in the United Kingdom on July 20.
"Our sponsorship of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team enables Budweiser to reach a global audience of racing fans by leveraging the resources and marketing expertise of two industry leaders," said Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "For more than 25 years, WilliamsF1 has been synonymous with the best in Formula One racing, and we look forward to continuing the team's winning tradition at this weekend's British Grand Prix."
On the announcement of this major new partnership, BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal Frank Williams said, "Budweiser is one of the world's most admired and identifiable brands, and of course has an impressive history as a patron of motor racing. I represent the whole team in saying that we feel extremely privileged to form a commercial alliance with a brand of this stature and importance."
Budweiser sponsors a variety of motorsports teams, and in the past 14 years, Bud Racing teams have produced 36 national and world championships. Budweiser was an associate sponsor during Montoya's Indianapolis 500 victory in 2000, when he became the first rookie to win the event since 1966. In addition, the brand serves as "official beer" sponsor of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA); and sponsors NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Miss Budweiser unlimited hydroplane team, and the NHRA's Kenny Bernstein.
"I think it's awesome to see Budweiser get into Formula One. I've really become a big fan (of Formula One) in the last couple of years, so I'm pumped to welcome Juan Pablo and Ralf as my newest teammates," said Earnhardt Jr., who currently ranks third in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings. "I've wanted to see an F1 race in person, but it's been hard to do with the busy NASCAR schedule. Now I know where I can get tickets if the calendar works out. Those guys are welcome in our garage area anytime."
A native of Germany, Ralf Schumacher made his Formula One debut in 1997, joined WilliamsF1 in 1999, and won both his and the team's first race at Imola in 2001. He followed up with two additional wins that season in Montreal and Hockenheim, and finished fourth in the World Championship. Schumacher won in Malaysia in 2002 and is having an outstanding season in 2003 with wins in both Germany and France to date. He currently ranks No. 3 in Formula One points for the season.
A native of Colombia, Montoya was the CART champion in 1999 and made his Formula One debut for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in 2001. Montoya, who previously had been a test driver for Williams, made an impact his rookie season in 2001 by claiming one victory, winning three poles and leading several races. In 2002, he took seven poles and clocked the fastest qualifying lap in the history of Formula One in Monza. He finished third overall in 2002, and continues to have a strong season in 2003 with a win at the blue ribbon Monaco GP and two second-place finishes.
WilliamsF1 is one of the world's most successful Formula One teams. Formed in 1977 by Frank Williams and Patrick Head, the company has secured 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles and won 112 Grands Prix. The company today employs around 500 personnel on a 40-acre technology campus outside Oxford, UK. In 2000, the company entered a major partnership with BMW, and together, the Anglo-German BMW WilliamsF1 Team has won eight Grands Prix.