ROKiT signs F1 sponsorship deal with Williams
A telecommunications firm founded by a Shropshire entrepreneur has been named as the new sponsor of a Formula One team.
ROKit, which is run by Shropshire-born businessman Jonathan Kendrick, has agreed a deal to be the title partner of Williams Racing for 2019.
The team will be known as ROKit Williams Racing, with the company's branding adorning the new Mercedes race car, drivers' clothing and helmets and staff uniforms.
The partnership was revealed during a special event held at Williams Racing HQ ahead of the 2019 season.
The company was founded by Mr Kendrick and US entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, the man behind the Paul Mitchell range of hair care products and is part of the pair's ROK Stars group of companies which includes drinks, beauty products and water purification.
Mr Kendrick's close affiliation with Formula One and Williams started, aged 17, with Goodyear Racing in Wolverhampton, before securing the European rights of the then unknown Yokohama Tyres, ahead of moving into audio-visual innovation for mobile phones.
As part of the Williams trackside team, Mr Kendrick engineered the tyres of Alan Jones' race car at the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix in Buenos Aires.
ROKit, which has offices in Albrighton and the US, is also launching a new smartphone this year.
Mr Kendrick said: "With ROKiT launching in 2019, we wanted a global platform that would help us tell our story of innovation.
"Williams Racing is the perfect partner. With them, we can bring F1 to audiences in new and pioneering ways.
"Through our glasses-free 3D technology and our Wi-Fi capabilities, we aim to make Formula One even more accessible for all.
"Williams Racing exists purely to race in the top echelon of motor racing and we see the exciting partnership of ROKiT Williams Racing as the beginning of an ambitious and exciting road back to the podium."
Claire Williams, deputy team principal at Williams Racing, added: "We are delighted to welcome ROKiT to our team as our title partner for the 2019 season and beyond.
"ROKiT is on an exciting journey in their world of telecommunications, as we are at Williams as we build the team for a successful future.
"Taking that path together will make us both stronger in our endeavours and so I can't wait to get started."
The newly-branded FW42 car will make its race debut on March 17 in Melbourne, Australia, kicking off the 2019 Formula One season.