Claire Williams, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Williams expects decision on potential sale within four months

2020 F1 season

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams wants to secure new funding for her team – potentially through a sale – within the next four months.

The team confirmed last week a sale is among the options it is considering to secure its future after sinking to the bottom of F1’s constructors’ championship.

Williams said the team “haven’t put a time frame on this process but we want to complete it within the next three to four months.

“We like to do things fast in Formula 1, don’t we?” she added. “We feel that we can achieve it in that time frame. But we are fully funded throughout the remainder of this year to continue racing as and when we can go back to the circuit.”

The team restructured its technical operation following the departure of former chief technical officer Paddy Lowe at the beginning of last season. Williams said further investment is needed throughout the team to ensure it can remain competitive.

“We’ve invested in this team mostly from a personnel perspective over the past two years,” she said. “But there are lots of things. Formula 1 teams, you give them money to spend and they’ll spend it straight away. We give it to engineers and they spend it even faster and they want even more.

“So [we need] investment in order to ensure that we can compete successfully. That obviously means investing in infrastructure.

“I don’t necessarily believe that we need to invest in personnel at a senior level, I think we’ve got that. Whether we need more people in the ranks below, that will be a question that we will look at.

“We have plans, I don’t want to go into detail on them, but that’s what investment will be used for.”

What cuts will teams have to make in response to the pandemic and the lower budget caps for 2021 and beyond? Read Dieter Rencken’s analysis in his new RacingLines column later today on RaceFans

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2020 F1 season

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Williams expects decision on potential sale within four months”

  1. So would it be fair to say this entire thing has been orchestrated and the buyer/new majority stakeholder (I’m guessing Latifi, or maybe Mazepin) was already ready to go long before the ROKiT anouncement??

    1. “orchestrated” is not the right wording to use there @aiii, since it suggests something murky going on behind the scenes.

      Surely it is only a matter of prudence to be in contact with potential parties for a team like Williams who have been at the wrong end of the stick for the last few years. And it seems worries about payments from ROKiT have been circulating in the paddock for quite some time. Announcing this step will be something they have been working towards (weighing options, checking on their current partner, evaluating legal implications etc) for a good part of the last 3 months, possibly since the start of the year.

    2. @aiii, Williams is listed and therefore has to announce such developments (approaches being made, formal discussions, or strategic decisions to sell the business).
      If you read their official communication you will find that albeit there were no formal approaches (read ‘offers’) they are ‘in
      preliminary discussions with a small number of parties regarding a potential investment in the Company’.

      Based on my experience (M&A) this means that (as stated) they are speaking to one or more parties about an investment or sale and that they want to make this public to actively test if there are other parties who might be interested as well. When you are selling (part of your) business it is better to have a few interested parties than just one candidate.

      1. Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification.

    3. Graham (@guitargraham)
      3rd June 2020, 11:47

      i think its more a case of Williams have jumped whilst they know there’s a decent safety net..or two, out there. Sir Frank is also right up there in age and securing the future of the workforce is the family’s No.1 priority.

  2. Good luck to them.

  3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    3rd June 2020, 10:21

    I’m still in shock that we might lose the Williams name from F1. A team that has the 3rd best ever win record and that has done easily as much to enhance the image as any other team in their time.

    Williams are real racers. True they have not adapted or altered their philosophy to the current climate, but I don’t see this as bad management as some have said. Its more about sticking to principles which they believe are right for the sport, if this means their demise then so be it. F1 will be worse off without them.

    When you are faced with the choice of financial or moral bankruptcy, which one do you choose?

    1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk I think in F1 moral bankruptcy is the most widely chosen one, sadly.

    2. Magnus Rubensson (@)
      3rd June 2020, 11:45

      Financial

    3. I’ll take the one that keeps the families of the people under my employ fed, tbh.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        3rd June 2020, 14:38

        Fair enough. There’s no right or wrong answer, but you can see my point. F1’s sporting DNA has dimished. As soon as all decisions are made for financial reasons the sport is gone.

        If jobs are lost the FIA must carry some blame as they’ve made the ‘sport’ into a spending competition.

  4. Not so much orchestrated as cutting and running from the chaos they have wrought.

  5. Williams has a long and chequered past and its fitting that it will end again how the team ended the last time when Frank sold to Walter Wolf Racing. Even when the Williams name is assigned to the history books, if it keeps the core team going and instils some fresh impetus to succeed then it can only be good for the future.

  6. Doesn’t it make more sense for the buyer to first bankrupt the team?

    Like the trick that Stroll concocted when he wanted to buy Force India. Let Perez bankrupt the team and then snap up the remains at a bargain.

    In the case of Williams, it’s probably just a matter of waiting 4 months.

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