Williams has announced it is considering selling the Formula 1 team after posting a £13million loss last year. Sir Frank Williams founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966 and entered F1 in 1969.
The decision marks a big chance in direction for the team, with Williams previously insisting on retaining control.
“The WGPH (William Grand Prix Holdings) board believes that the strategic review and formal sale process is the right and prudent thing to do in order to take time to consider a full range of options and put the Formula 1 team in the best possible position for the future,” a statement read.
“As part of this new strategic direction, 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.”
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How much is Sir Frank Williams worth?
According to Alux, Sir Frank is said to be worth £109m ($135m).
His F1 team has won 16 FIA Formula 1 world titles – nine for constructors and seven for drivers – making it the third most successful team on the grid.
At 78, he is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the team with those duties now in the hands of his daughter Claire, who serves as deputy team principal.
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Speaking about the decision to put the business up for sale, she said: “Frank has always ensured he puts the team, business and our people first, and that’s what we’re doing now.”
She added: “Frank is always aware of and up to speed with every decision the board takes and is supportive.
“He wants to ensure the future success of his team and understands and agrees this is the right time to seek inward investment to achieve that.”
Claire dismissed the suggestion that any potential sale might be seen as a sign of desperation.
“Williams as a family have always put our Formula One team first,” she told reporters in a Zoom call.
“I feel very much that seeking inward investment at this juncture is absolutely in line with that philosophy we’ve always had – to protect our team’s future, to protect the people that work for us.”
Williams also announced it had ended its relationship with title sponsor Rokit.
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“I have confidence that we can replace the ROKiT money but we also have existing sponsors that we are very happy with and are being incredibly supportive,” Claire said.
“I think the world is going to be a very different place.
“But I’m sure there will still be appetite to sponsor in our sport, a sport that is undergoing huge change for the good.”
F1 is aiming to start a curtailed season in Austria at the beginning of July.
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