The Williams F1 team has revealed that it is contemplating a flotation on the stock market as a way of securing the long term future of the Grove-based outfit.
In a statement to the press, team principal and founder, Sir Frank Williams said that while he wants to remain at the helm for a long as he is 'blessed with good health', it is also his 'desire' to ensure the team is in 'good shape to go on racing long after he is gone'. As such he has concluded that the option which will 'best achieve' this is to 'broaden the shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team'.
Asked to clarify precisely what this means, Adam Parr, chairman of Williams F1, replied that 'yes', a floatation on the stock market is being considered and that 'no', the aim was not to raise money for the company.
“It would be correct to say that Williams F1 is considering a flotation on the stock exchange,” he said.
“At this stage, all we have concluded is that it is the best way to secure the future of the team and its 450 employees.”
Although the timescale for flotation is still being worked out, Parr was quick to clarify that Frank is not considering standing down, nor is his health an issue.
“Retirement is categorically not on Frank's agenda. Anyone who knows Frank knows this,” he continued. “Frank's health is absolutely fine [too].”
So does the team have the financial track record to support a flotation?
“Yes, we believe we do,” Parr added. “The company has always been run on sound financial principles.
"In spite of the economic environment in recent years, we have turned a profit and generated positive cash-flow from operating activities in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and we have a fully contracted budget for 2011.”
Williams F1 are one of the most successful teams in the sport. However the squad has hit a barren spell in recent years and the outfit last won a race at the end of 2004. Last year Williams were sixth in the constructors' championship.
Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado will fly the flag for the squad during the F1 2011 season.
STOP PRESS: To read the full statement from Sir Frank Williams after it was confirmed the Grove-based outfit is contemplating a flotation on the stock market - click here