By Lewis Wright
Williams Grand Prix Holdings plc has just sold a majority stake of their engineering team, Advanced Engineering Limited to an independent equity firm.
SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION
This particular motoring team created innovations for the likes of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Nissan and Lotus. Whilst those without an interest in the industry probably have never heard of Sir Frank Williams, this knighted engineer has owned Williams Racing for 43 years and has, arguably, been leading innovations for the trade years on end.
The deal, which includes Williams’ F1 team, was valued at £136.5 million and has successfully guaranteed the engineering firm’s future in Formula 1 for the long term, according to Williams. It appears that most, if not all the team have viewed this as a widely positive experience with them stating that the sale “received the unanimous support of the board of Williams, including Sir Frank”.
With 73 race wins, 181 podiums, and 17 international championships, Sir Williams will no doubt be feeling nostalgic about his past successes with this company. Despite such a massive change to the company, it refuses to budge from its roots as a family-owned business and will retain its position at its Oxfordshire headquarters. With any business deeply rooted in family tradition, it can be difficult to let go of such a large part of their lives; but as Ms Williams puts it, “making the team successful again and protecting our people has been at the heart of this process from the start”.
Keeping with this trend, Ms Williams, who is the team’s deputy team principal, states that “as a family, we have always put our team first” further proving the selflessness of the family in its aims for engineering greatness.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS DEAL
Whilst Williams has made several innovations in the industry, the better-funded team, over the past decade, have made waves to overcome the competition. The new owners, Dorilton Capital hope to put in much-needed funds to push Williams back into the podium spots at the top of the F1 rankings. Mr Savage, Dorilton Capital’s chairman said its “patient investment style” would allow the team to find and invest in the problem areas of the team.
However, Williams still believes it needs more external financial support to return to its historic position as one of the most successful teams in F1.
Williams has been suffering recently due to poor track performance, as well as the obvious – the pandemic, which led to a slew of race cancellations. With the team finishing last overall in 2019, the team had fallen into a rough patch despite using the same engines as the current champions, Mercedes.
However, along with the new purchase by Dorilton Capital, the team has just entered into the Concorde Agreement along with the other 9 teams which set out to allow all those involved to earn a fairer share of revenues. With Williams being one of the smaller – if not the smallest – team in F1, this Agreement, governing 2021 to 2025, will allow a more level playing field between the likes of big teams and smaller private ones.