In a period of great economic uncertainty the world over, it has emerged that for the second year running, Williams F1 - one of the last remaining true 'privateer' outfits in the top flight - has registered significant financial losses.

The Grove-based outfit - which clinched 113 grand prix triumphs and 16 drivers' and constructors' world crowns between 1979 and 2004 - made a $60m profit in 2005, F1SA affirms, but over the following two years, as its performance level has dipped, it has filed a combined loss of some $88 million.

Williams currently sits eighth in the 2008 constructors' title chase - having finished fifth, eighth and fourth respectively in 2005, 2006 and 2007 - and is the only team on the current Formula 1 grid without the backing of either a major car manufacturer or billionaire behind it. A directors' report revealed that the squad has increased bank borrowings in order to help fund its deficit.

'The decision to increase net debt to support a return to competitive on-track performance was driven by a strong long-term business plan,' the report reasoned.

Auditor Grant Thornton added that 'there is a reasonable expectation the company has adequate resources to continue operating for the foreseeable future'.

Contrasting with Williams' ailing fortunes, the Evening Standard newspaper in London has claimed that the top flight's newest grand prix-winning outfit, Scuderia Toro Rosso, has recorded a profit for the first time in more than a decade.

The Red Bull 'junior' concern - which operated as Minardi for 20 years from 1985 to 2005 - has apparently registered profits of $720,000 for 2007, said to have been boosted by $50 million of investment from Red Bull drinks magnate Dietrich Mateschitz, co-owner of the small Faenza-based squad alongside ex-F1 ace Gerhard Berger.

STR star Sebastian Vettel made history in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last month, when he became both the sport's youngest-ever pole-sitter and grand prix winner in the same weekend.

The young German had already gone into the record books as F1's youngest-ever points-scorer by finishing eighth on his debut for BMW-Sauber in the 2007 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, at the age of just 19 years and 349 days, and the youngest driver to lead a race when he took to the head of the field in the Japanese Grand Prix for STR later that same year.