Former Williams sponsor RoKIT has initiated proceedings to bring the British outfit back to court in a case in which it is seeking a $149 million compensation for damages to its reputation.

Williams and its former commercial partner have been at legal loggerheads since 2020.

The Grove-based outfit brought the telecommunications company founded by Jonathan Kendrick onboard as its title-sponsor ahead of the start of the 2019 season.

Mid-way through that year’s campaign, the two partners agreed on an extension of their deal to the end of 2023.

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But in May 2020, just a month before the start of F1’s Covid-impacted season, Williams suddenly terminated its sponsorship deal with ROKiT.

It appeared at the time that Williams had cause to do so as its partner had not fulfilled its contractual obligations and had withheld several payments.

Former Williams Racing Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams

In 2021, Williams was successful in arguing its case against RoKIT in a London Court of International Arbitration, while in December 2021 a federal arbitration court in Los Angeles rejected ROKiT’s arguments claiming that it had withheld payment to Williams because it was the team that had not fulfilled its obligations after January 1, 2020.

At the time, total compensation awarded to Williams was set at $35.7 million.

However, the litigation between the two companies was far from over, with RoKIT now hitting back with a lawsuit filed in Florida in which it accuses Williams of “fraudulent concealment of statements of material facts”.

RoKIT has named Williams and members of its former management, before the team was sold to Dorilton Capital, as defendants in its case, and that includes former deputy team principal Claire Williams, former CEO Mike O’Driscoll and former CFO Doug Lafferty.

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In a nutshell, RoKIT alleges Williams gave the company assurances as it finalized its sponsorship talks that it had produced a competitive car for the 2019 season, when in reality it did not have the funds to develop a competitive car.

RoKIT says its reputation was damaged when Williams subsequently endured an uncompetitive campaign in which it finished last in the championship.

RoKIT argues that it has “suffered significant financial loss and damage to their goodwill and business reputation” as a result of Williams’ actions.

The company’s claim says 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 asks for compensation for “an amount in excess of $149,528,550 dollars.”

Williams has dismissed RoKIT’s legal action as “spurious” according to

“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,” Williams stated.

While no longer involved in Formula 1, RoKIT has maintained a sponsorship presence in Formula E and in the British Formula 4 championship.

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