Williams have won $35.7 million in arbitration after the team's former title sponsor, ROKiT, pulled out of a pair of multi-year sponsorship deals.
Williams and ROKiT joined forces ahead of the 2019 season on an initial three-year contract, which was soon extended by a further two years – meaning the partnership should have lasted until at least the end of 2023.
But prior to the 2020 season, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ROKiT reneged on the deals and left Williams without a title sponsor.
As per a report by Law360.com, ROKiT had agreed to pay varying instalments at prescribed times. Arbitrator Klaus Reichert SC found that while ROKiT were initially pleased with the deals and promised to pay what they owed, Williams never received the money.
Reichert rejected arguments from ROKiT that they had withheld payment from Williams because the team had not fulfilled their obligations under the deal after 1 January, 2020. Up until March 2020, ROKiT were said to be "unambiguously promising" payment to the team.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Williams went up for sale in May 2020 and, some three months later, were acquired by the US-based private investment firm Dorilton Capital.
Williams urged the federal court in Los Angeles to enforce the award against ROKiT, which they duly won from a London Court of International Arbitration tribunal in 2021.
The $35.7 million includes a $1 million bonus payment, which was promised by ROKiT co-founder Jonathan Kendrick in 2019. A break clause is also understood to have been factored into the process.
A senior source at Williams confirmed the litigation developments when approached by RacingNews365.com for comment.
Despite severing their ties with Williams, ROKiT remain involved in motorsport as the title sponsor of the Venturi Formula E team.
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