James Bower, until now head marketing and commercial strategy at Formula 1 team McLaren, has joined fellow UK operation Williams as commercial director.

In his new role, Bower will lead the growth of Williams portfolio of commercial partners and identify new opportunities for commercial growth. 

Tim Hunt, who previously held the role of commercial director, has moved to chief marketing.

Bower’s appointment is the latest in a number of key hires by Williams since the team was taken over by Dorilton Capital, the USA-based private investment firm, last year, and tallies with a planned acceleration of its commercial agenda.

Jost Capito, chief executive of Williams Racing, said: “We are thrilled to welcome James bower to Williams Racing as commercial director. As we continue to grow our commercial and marketing offering, his appointment reflects the positive momentum we are building both on and off the track.

“The appointment speaks to the team’s ambition to further develop its commercial activities, in part by ensuring the expansion of effective and long-lasting partnerships that deliver value to both parties. He joins us with a wealth of valuable experience, and I look forward to seeing what he can achieve.”

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Bower had been at McLaren for 14 years, and was part of the commercial team that evaluated the benefits of the team's move into racing series outside Formula 1.

Bower said: “I’m proud to join Williams Racing at such an important time for the team and our sport. Williams has a special place in the minds of Formula 1 fans around the world. It’s this passion for racing, combined with valuable technological capabilities, that I’m excited to leverage to enable companies to solve commercial challenges and build their brands while providing value to our fans.”

Meanwhile, McLaren have agreed a new licensing partnership with SunGod, the UK performance sunglasses maker.

Under the deal, the company will serve as the official McLaren F1 fan eyewear licensee with effect from this season.

To mark the tie-up, SunGod is releasing a limited edition McLaren Racing model of their Renegades and Sierras sunglasses, and, later this year, will be launching eyewear ranges with the team's drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

The 2021 Formula 1 season continues with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend.