Williams’ former sponsor ROKiT is suing the F1 team for $149m, claiming they were “aware of and concealed” the true pace of their car.
ROKiT replaced Martini as Williams’ title sponsor back in 2019 in what became a three-year deal, only for that to end in May 2020 with Williams announcing they’d terminated the relationship with immediate effect.
Then team boss Claire Williams refused to go into details regarding the split but insisted that Williams had “met all contractual obligations”.
Williams later took legal action against RoKiT for withholding payments, winning a £26.2m pay-out in the London Court of International Arbitration tribunal.
Now RoKiT are the ones suing with the telecommunications company claiming Williams made “fraudulent statements” when they brought the sponsor on board with promises of a good car.
RoKiT are claiming that the Arbitration tribunal was “not aware of the fraudulent concealment of statements of material facts by defendants that were not discovered until after the arbitration had concluded,”, and that they have since “learned that the car was never capable of performing to the standards that defendants had guaranteed to the plaintiffs, and that defendants were aware of and concealed this fact.
“The defendants intentionally and fraudulently concealed the fact that Williams Engineering simply did not have enough money to develop the F1 car.”
RoKiT went onto add that “as a direct and proximate result of the fraudulent statements made by the defendants, plaintiffs have suffered significant financial loss and damage to their goodwill and business reputation,” and ask for compensation for “an amount in excess of $149,528,550.”
ROKiT boss Jonathan Kendrick insists before he signed with Williams he asked about the state of play with the car and what he was told was not true.
“Before we signed it,” he told Motorsport.com., “we asked exactly those questions in front of my board. What is the state of the car? And what is the state of the development?
“And we were told X, Y and Z, and it never, ever was true. And that’s what we think we can prove, particularly when we go to court.
“The warrants and the commitments that were given by the board to us could never, ever have been fulfilled. And they just simply were not true. If you remember they turned up at Barcelona [for 2019 testing] late, because they hadn’t got the money to do it.”
“I don’t want to do this, but we think we’ve been wronged,” he added. “Why this came about was that COVID hit and the whole  season was cancelled. That’s why we didn’t pay them.
“And then the season, if you remember, was only going to be 50%. So we offered 50% in writing. And they refused and immediately after that cancelled our whole contract, and sued us for the whole amount, even though we wouldn’t have anything on the car.
“I’ve got the emails saying we’ll pay you half, and then they cancelled it on Instagram, they didn’t even tell us.”
He revealed insiders who used to work for Williams have given him the information to make his case.
“A few people have come forward that used to work for Williams, and have given us some very important information,” he said.
“I really didn’t want to do this. I really didn’t. But because they’ve come after us, I’ve got no choice. I don’t like it, but it’s not fair the way it was done.”
Williams have rubbished RoKiT’s claims.
“Williams Racing is aware of this spurious claim,” the team said.
“Having successfully won an arbitration against ROKiT in the UK and successfully petitioning for the arbitral award to be confirmed by a federal court in the United States, Williams continues to trust in the court processes in regards to this unfortunate matter.”