Williams is considering selling its Formula 1 team as part of a “new strategic direction” aimed at securing the company’s future.

A drop in revenue following difficult 2018 and 2019 campaigns, coupled with the financial uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent loss in race income, has prompted the Williams Group to look at alternative ways of raising funds.

Among the options being considered include a partial or even full scale sale of the Grove-based F1 team. Williams said on Friday that it has started the process of looking at interesting parties but is yet to receive any approaches.

Williams confirmed it is in preliminary discussions “with a small number of parties” regarding a potential investment in the company after posting a loss of £13m last year. 

A Williams statement said: “The WGPH board is undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the Company. 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.

“Whilst no decisions have been made regarding the optimal outcome yet, to facilitate discussions with interested parties, the Company announces the commencement of a "formal sale process" (as referred to in Note 2 on Rule 2.6 of the Takeover Code).”

Concerns have been raised over whether all 10 teams will survive the crisis and last month deputy team principal Claire Williams admitted it is “absolutely critical” for Williams’ future that F1 is able to resume this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the opening 10 races to be called off, but F1 bosses are confident of getting the delayed season underway in early July in Austria.

While the company acknowledged it has faced a number of financial challenges in recent times, Williams insisted it remains “funded and ready to resume racing when the calendar allows in 2020.”

Williams has also terminated its sponsorship arrangements with title partner ROKiT, and major sponsor, ROK Drinks, with immediate effect after just one season. 

CEO Mike O’Driscoll stressed Williams is confident that F1’s new radical cost-cutting package will deliver on its goal of helping to achieve a level playing field while also saving significant funds.

He said: ”There has been an enormous gap in earnings and expenditure between the three largest teams and the rest of the grid for a number of years, but we are confident that Liberty Media's long-term vision and plans, including a first-ever cost-cap for the sport, will deliver a more level playing field for 2021 and beyond, on which all teams can compete more fairly."

 

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