LONDON (Reuters) – Williams said on Friday it was considering selling its once-dominant but now struggling Formula One team as part of a strategic review.
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Pre Season Testing – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – February 19, 2020 Williams’ George Russell in action with aero rakes attached to the car during testing REUTERS/Albert Gea
Williams Grand Prix Holdings (WGPH) published results for 2019 showing Formula One revenue slid to 95.4 million pounds ($117.6 million) in 2019, down from 130.7 million pounds the previous year.
“The WGPH board is undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the company,” it said.
“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.”
The board has appointed Allen&Co and Lazard as joint financial advisers to assist with the strategic review and formal sale process.
“The Company is not in receipt of any approaches at the time of this announcement and confirms that it is in preliminary discussions with a small number of parties regarding a potential investment in the Company,” it said.
The former champions, who last won a championship in 1997 with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, have not won a race since 2012.
They finished last in 2019 with just one point scored by now-departed Polish driver Robert Kubica, and were also 10th overall in 2018.
The team’s finances have suffered as a result of poor track performance, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing more pain and set to further impact commercial rights income in 2020.
Williams also announced on Friday that it had served notice to terminate its relationship with title partner ROKiT and major sponsor ROK Drinks.
The team, who have furloughed employees, said they remained funded and would be ready to resume racing when conditions allowed. Formula One is planning to start the season in Austria in July.
“The WGPH 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 One team in the best possible position for the future,” Williams said.
Formula One is due to implement a $145 million budget cap from next year.
Williams have won nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championships and are one of the most successful teams, historically, in the sport.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by David Goodman and Christian Radnedge