After parting ways with Rokit, Williams has now launched a revised livery for the 2020 season which looks a little bit light on the sponsors. Prominent ones included are Sofina Foods and Lavazza coffee, both of which come via the Nicholas Latifi connection, and Swiss tech firm Acronis.
They’re all fairly standard things you’d expect to see on an F1 car – but what about that Ponos logo on the bargeboard? What’s that all about?
Ponos joined the team towards the end of last year and it’s logos were present on the previous FW43 livery. It turns out it’s a Japanese games company which has been going since 1990 and now seems to specialise in making crazy Japanese mobile games.
According to their website, games include Mr. NooO!!, Mr. Oops!!, and Mr. AaaH!!, as well as the brilliantly-named Do Do EGG!
However, Ponos’s flagship title appears to be a game called The Battle Cats. It’s a tower defence game featuring – yup, you guessed it – cats, which looks like its rooted in the cat meme culture of a decade or so ago. Given that the game was launched back in 2011 that’s hardly surprising, but it’s clearly done well enough for the company that it’s allowed it to sponsor an actual F1 team.
It’s not the first time a mobile games company has been involved in F1 – back in 2012, Heikki Kovalainen ran an Angry Birds helmet design.
It’s not even the first Japanese company to sponsor Williams. In 1993, the team had a sponsorship deal with Sega, leading to a cracking bit of livery design which made it look like the drivers had Sonic the Hedgehog’s legs.
The difference is that in 1993, Williams was a virtually unbeatable team. And as one of the biggest games companies in the world, Sega was pretty much a household name.
Now, Williams will be lucky if it’s anything other than last, and Ponos is something of an obscure company that few will have heard of.
Oh, and according to Google Translate, Ponos can either mean blame (Romanian), pride (Croatian), pain (Greek), or diarrhoea (Russian).
We’ll leave it up to you to decide how appropriate all of that is.