Williams have lost major sponsor Hewlett Packard after the technology firm cut nearly 1,000 jobs in the UK. The prior loss of engine partner BMW is believed to be the major factor, although HP’s press release does not explicitly state it.
Williams had drawn acclaim for building a roster of respectable blue-chip advertisers, having decided to shun tobacco advertising when originally courting BMW. McLaren are expected to go down the same route by announcing either Intel or British Telecom as title sponsors for 2006, following the departure of West tobacco.
The news brings Williams’ financial problems into sharper relief. In 2004 Frank Williams sold his private jet to pay for a new wind tunnel. The latest news will heighten speculation that Williams will accept a substantial cash settlement from BAR in exchange for Jenson Button’s contract.
F1Fanatic news blogs from earlier in 2005 are available at http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/Newsblog/index.htm