Motorsports

Published on August 21st, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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Williams Racing Formula 1 Team Acquired By Dorilton Capital

American investment firm buys out the last of the family owned Formula 1 teams on the grid. 

The Williams Racing Formula 1 team has been acquired by American private investment firm Dorilton Capital. Founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams, this sale marks the end of the family owned Formula 1 teams on the current grid today. 

Although considered back markers on the grid in recent years, the storied F1 outfit has experienced great success in the past, with 9 world constructor’s championship and 7 driver’s championship titles to its name. Most recently of which was Jacques Villeneuve clinching both titles for the team in 1997. 

Finer details of the sale of the team by the Williams family have yet to be revealed but it is said that the team will ‘continue to race and compete under the Williams brand, with the chassis name remaining unchanged’. There has also been no plans by the new owners to relocate the Williams team from its traditional headquarters at Grove, England. 

The timing of this sale was an interesting one as it was announced after all 10 Formula 1 teams have signed on to the Concorde Agreement, which is set to bring with it sweeping rule changes in the next couple of years. Most importantly of which is the alleged budget caps that are to be implemented as to help lower tier teams like what Williams is now be competitive in the sport going forward. 

General reaction to the sale of the team by fans has been positive. There has been some that are dismayed by the sale of the so called last ‘plucky’ team as Williams were the only team not run by a giant corporation, but many fans see this as a step in the right direction for the historic racing team. 

Fans have been dismayed for many years watching the decline of a team that was once able to fight for podium places just a couple of years back, turn into a team that is now consistently in the bottom two places during the race. 

With this fresh injection of cash from its new owners, there is renewed hope that the team can once again return to its former glory. 

More information can be found in the press release below: 

Williams Racing has been acquired by Dorilton Capital, bringing a successful conclusion to the Strategic Review which was launched in late May. Dorilton Capital is known for its long-term approach to investment and its key focus will be to restore the competitiveness of the team. This marks the beginning of an exciting new era in the history of Williams, which with its new owner, is now well positioned to capitalise upon the sweeping rule changes coming into Formula One with the new Concorde Agreement.

As part of the Strategic Review, Williams together with the Group’s financial advisers, conducted a comprehensive review of all the options available to the Company, which included exploratory discussions with a series of potential investors. This strategic review has now successfully concluded and the Company is pleased to announce the sale of Williams Racing to Dorilton Capital. This Transaction received the unanimous support of the Board of Williams, including Sir Frank, who determined the Transaction delivers the best outcome for the Company’s shareholders and secures the long-term success of the Williams Formula 1 team.

Dorilton Capital is a private investment firm headquartered in the United States with a strong track-record of building and enhancing companies with a flexible and patient investment style. Dorilton recognises and appreciates the importance of respecting and retaining Williams’ heritage and culture and is committed to maintaining its identity. The team will continue to race and compete under the Williams brand, with the chassis name remaining unchanged. Dorilton has no plans to re-locate the team from Grove, its traditional home.

The new Concorde Agreement is set to transform the sport and will help address the historical challenges that Williams has faced as an independent constructor, by reducing the financial and on-track disparities between teams and creating a fairer, more competitive sport. The new changes present an exciting opportunity for Williams, which together with the new ownership, will secure the long-term future of Williams at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, commented: “The Strategic Review was a useful process to go through and proved that both Formula One and Williams have credibility and value.  We have now reached a conclusion and we are delighted that Dorilton are the new owners of the team. When we started this process, we wanted to find a partner who shared the same passion and values, who recognised the team’s potential and who could unlock its power. In Dorilton we know we have found exactly that. People who understand the sport and what it takes to be successful. People who respect the team’s legacy and will do everything to ensure it succeeds in the future. As a family we have always put our team first. Making the team successful again and protecting our people has been at the heart of this process from start. This may be the end of an era for Williams as a family owned team, but we know it is in good hands. The sale ensures the team’s survival but most importantly will provide a path to success. We are enormously grateful to Dorilton for the faith they have shown in our team and we look forward to working with them now. I would also like to thank the Williams Board and our advisers who have worked tirelessly over the past months to make this happen and our employees who have remained steadfastly loyal.”

Mike O’Driscoll, CEO of Williams, commented: “The transaction announced today marks the next stage in the history of Williams Formula 1 at an exciting time in the sport. The Company has successfully completed its strategic review and we are pleased to announce the sale to Dorilton Capital, which delivers a great outcome for shareholders and secures the long term future of the Company.”

Matthew Savage, Chairman of Dorilton Capital, commented: “We are delighted to have invested in Williams and we are extremely excited by the prospects for the business.  We believe we are the ideal partner for the company due to our flexible and patient investment style, which will allow the team to focus on its objective of returning to the front of the grid.  We look forward to working with the Williams team in carrying out a detailed review of the business to determine in which areas new investment should be directed.  We also recognise the world class facilities at Grove and confirm that there are no plans to relocate.”

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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