Sale of Williams F1 team being considered


Williams is considering a sale of the company, including the F1 team after posting a loss in 2019

Williams F1 car


Williams is considering selling the company, including its Formula 1 team, after posting a £13m loss last year and terminating its sponsorship deal with ROKiT.

A year spent trailing at the back of the pack, and reduced sponsorship revenue were blamed for a slump in the F1 team’s revenue from £130.7m in 2018 to £95.4m in 2019.

Today, Williams Grand Prix Holdings announced that it was looking to raise new capital, sell a stake in the business or offload the company entirely, which would mark an end to 43 years of control by Frank Williams, who owns a majority stake.

“The financial results for 2019 reflect the recent decline in competitiveness of the F1 operation and the consequent reduction in commercial rights income” said Mike O’Driscoll, Chief Executive Officer. “After four years of very solid performance in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship during which we claimed two third and two fifth place finishes, we endured a couple of very difficult seasons.”

O’Driscoll also suggested that ROKiT was responsible for the end of the title sponsorship deal. In Williams’ annual report, he wrote: “Having offered full commitment, and met all terms of the partnership agreement, we are tremendously disappointed to see this promising relationship end.”

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Williams said that next year’s cost cap and expected changes to the distribution of commercial income should deliver a more level playing field from 2021, and that it was carrying out a strategic review “to ensure it is well positioned to take advantage of Formula 1’s new era”

“Options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole Company,” Williams said in a statement, adding that it had not been approached by any buyers, but is in “preliminary discussions with a small number of parties regarding a potential investment in the Company”.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings includes the Formula 1 team, and a minority stake in Williams Advanced Engineering, which was set up to exploit the group’s engineering expertise. A majority stake was sold off last year.