A welcome return for a historic sponsor 22 Apr 2006
A whos who of Formula One racing gathered in the Imola Paddock Club on Friday evening to welcome back one of the sports most famous sponsors - Martini. Some 30 years ago, the Italian drinks company played a key role in creating Formula One racings unrivalled image as one of the worlds top sports.
Back then their famous colours appeared on the cars of Bernie Ecclestones championship-winning Brabham team. Now they are celebrating a new sponsorship agreement with Ferrari.
An excited Robert Furniss-Roe, Director of Martini Racing, said: We are extremely excited about our new partnership with the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team. We have a long and proud heritage in motorsports and this latest chapter promises to be rewarding and exciting for us and our consumers.
To illustrate that proud heritage, Furniss-Roe presented Ecclestone with a beautiful reproduction of the old Martini team jacket - in that unforgettable light blue leather, complete with the classic Martini stripes that were the envy of rival teams back then. Former Brabham designer Gordon Murray was also among the privileged few lucky enough to receive an identical item.
Amid the obligatory Martini girls and images of the old Martini Brabhams, Ecclestone was asked if the sport was more fun in those days. I do have more fun now, he replied, but I can only speak for myself and not for you guys.
Ferraris Jean Todt added: It is good to have Martini back and I am proud that two true Italian icons - Martini and Ferrari - have teamed up.
Of course, the Martini itself flowed freely, but the company initiated their own campaign for responsible drinking with a special competition for the attending media. Michael Schumacher picked out the two winners. The prize? Access to a special shuttle car at the forthcoming Spanish and Italian Grands Prix to ferry them safely between Barcelonas and Milans top night spots and their hotels.