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Williams dismisses notions of selling up.

Sir Frank Williams has moved to stress that he has no intention of selling his eponymous Formula 1 team 'in the next few years', even though the top flight is now being dominated by big-budget, manufacturer-backed outfits.

Williams – originally called Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd – has been in existence since 1977, and over the intervening 31 years has achieved a tremendous amount of success in F1, securing 16 world championship crowns (seven drivers' and nine constructors), 113 race victories, 125 pole positions and 128 fastest laps from 510 starts.

Though last year the Grove-based concern finished fourth in the title chase, it has in recent campaigns struggled to match the resources and development pace of the manufacturer-led squads, for whom money would quite literally appear to be no object. Williams has not triumphed in a grand prix since Juan-Pablo Montoya prevailed at Interlagos in Brazil in the final outing of 2004.

Having raced to the bottom step of the podium in the 2008 season curtain-raiser Down Under in Melbourne, Nico Rosberg and team-mate Kazuki Nakajima now find themselves struggling even to break out of Q1 in qualifying, but Sir Frank – one of the last true remaining privateers on the grand prix grid – is adamant that relinquishing the reins is the last thing on his mind.

“In the next few years we will not sell,” he told sport.net, in spite of contemporary and McLaren team principal Ron Dennis having effectively sold out to engine suppliers Mercedes-Benz and Bahraini investors, and Williams itself said to be forging a burgeoning relationship with Icelandic investment group Baugur. “We would sell no more than shares; the name Williams is staying in Formula 1.”

The 66-year-old did acknowledge, however, that he and team co-founder and engineering director Patrick Head are 'not getting younger', whilst ruling out the possibility of his son Jonathan – currently involved in the feeder GP2 Series – taking over, reasoning that Williams Jnr is 'too nice for Formula 1'.

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Powerline 2008 - Unregistered

August 07, 2008 8:27 AM

I think privateers do have a place in F1. Prodrive is doing very well outside F1. The spoiler here is actually Max & the FIA. Frank Williams is a remarkable man. I've lots of respect for his contributions towards F1. If F1 is to be only a manufacturers playground, then the FIA & the FOTA should clear the air on this. Without a new Concorde Agreement, the future of F1 is unclear. Speaking of privateers, didn't a Brit by the name of Richard Branson just launched a space travel program. There should be more people like Richard Branson in F1. BTW, I'm an America :)

Mark - Unregistered

August 07, 2008 2:04 AM

I like Williams but I think, for the future success of the team, he is going to have to sell out to a manufacturer or go into partnership. I would be looking to do what McLaren has done. Frank is after all 66 anyway and due for a back seat.

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