What's the best way to make a small fortune in Formula One? Arrive with a large one. Williams has another idea though, and it's a radical one in the field of motor racing: The British outfit may float shares on the stock market.
Williams insists the idea is being considered in order to secure a long-term future (as its team principals are some of the oldest on the grid) and not as an effort to raise funds in the short term. After selling part of the team to Austrian investor Toto Wollf, it suffered from the departure of a number of sponsors at the end of last season. But the team insists its budget is secure for the coming championship, having recently announced a deal with Venezuelan oil company PDVSA that followed the signing of Venezuelan driver and reigning GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado to replace Nico Hülkenberg for next season.
The Williams group consists of more than just the F1 team, encompassing Williams Grand Prix Engineering as well as the hybrid development business Porsche used for the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the development and construction of the Formula 2 chassis and separate operations in Qatar, which would ostensibly all be part of the IPO if the company decides to go ahead with the move. At the moment, however, Frank Williams and company appear to be dipping their proverbial toes in the water. Follow the jump for the official statement.
[Source: Williams | Image: Glenn Dunbar/LAT/Williams]
A Statement from Frank Williams on Behalf of Williams F1
"For some years I have been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of Williams such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and I established the team back in 1977.
"My goal then was to race in Formula One as an independent Constructor. This was and is my great passion and I will race for as long as I continue to be blessed with good health. It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone. To that end, it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent Constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula One and to the sound business practices which have supported us over three decades.
"I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team. This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners.
"Patrick, Toto and I are therefore examining this option closely and, if the environment is propitious, we may act in the near future. Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the Team Principal of AT&T Williams."