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Williams Formula 1 team up for sale as losses mount

Autocar logo Autocar 29/05/2020 Lawrence Allan
Williams Formula 1 team up for sale as losses mount © Autocar Williams Formula 1 team up for sale as losses mount

The owner of the Williams Formula 1 team has confirmed a plan to sell all or part of the company in efforts to raise fresh capital. 

Now widely reported, the decision would mean founder Sir Frank Williams relinquishing majority ownership of the once-dominant team after 43 years at the helm. 

In a statement, Williams Grand Prix Holdings (WGPH) has said this is the “right and prudent thing to do in order to take time to consider a full range of options and put the Formula 1 team in the best possible position for the future”. 

The statement list “various strategic options” that are being considered, “including but not limited to raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in Williams Grand Prix Holdings, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole company”.

Williams posted a loss of £13 million for 2019, selling a substantial stake in its Williams Advanced Engineering arm to a private equity firm to bolster its balance sheet. However, the coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the financial struggles of a team now regularly competing at the back of the F1 grid. 

The British team, based in Oxfordshire, has also split with its title sponsor Rokit and major sponsor Rok drinks. 

The decision comes soon after F1’s owner, Liberty Media, introduced a budget cap for next season to ease the financial burden on team revenues post-pandemic. 

Today Renault chief financial officer Clotilde Delbos confirmed the French car maker's intention to stay in F1, despite a massive restructuring plan of the whole business, with 15,000 jobs to be cut. 

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