Williams restructure not ‘anything other than positive’

George Russell tests during pre-season

Williams’ move to potentially sell or otherwise raise capital for the company is not “anything other than positive” according to Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, the parent of businesses including the Formula 1 team, announced that it has entered into a formal sale process in conjunction with the release of its 2019 financial results.

Those results revealed a GBP 13.0 million (approximately AUD 24 million) loss for the year ending December 31, during which time the race team finished on the bottom of the constructors’ championship for the second straight season.

Despite the company’s concerning financial situation and Claire Williams’ explanation that the move is about “secur(ing) the future of the team”, she painted the sale process in a positive light.

“I’ve been getting so many emails almost of condolence from people, and I get that, and it’s much appreciated, but I’m looking at this from a really positive perspective,” remarked the daughter of founder Sir Frank Williams on Sky Sports News.

“This is something that will ensure the future sustainability of our team. The Williams family, has always been about that. We put our team first, and we put its success first, and the investment that we’re looking for is going to help us achieve that.

“For me, this is a good thing that we’re doing, and it shouldn’t be looked on in a negative way, in a disappointing way, or anything other than positive.

“The people here understand that, the people at Williams understand it, and I think they’re excited.

“This can potentially give us a very positive future.”

The results announcement also included disclosure that Williams had terminated its title sponsorship agreement with Rokit, for reasons unspecified.

However, Claire Williams says that it will be business as usual, to the extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the race track.

“I can absolutely, wholeheartedly promise you that we have a fully-funded budget to continue this year’s calendar, whatever that calendar may look like,” she said.

“The car will still be a Williams and we’ll still be the same people involved in putting that car on the grid on a Sunday. George (Russell) and Nicholas (Latifi) will still be in it.

“The only thing that will change is that we’ll have a slightly different livery.

“We will be giving it, like we would each and every year that we go racing, our absolutely all to do the best job that we can.

“We’re desperate to get back to the race track, obviously as and when it’s safe to do so, because as everybody knows, we’ve put in so much work over the last 18 months to turn this team around.

“I think we had a pretty good showing in testing, I think that we demonstrated in February that we’ve made some changes. We were looking forward to showing that on the race track in Australia.

“We’re really excited about going back racing in July and hopefully giving our fans something to cheer about, and then move forward into the future.”

Williams hopes to complete the restructure in the next three to four months.

The 2020 F1 season will begin with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 3-5.

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