In this series, I will look at the ownership and funding of the teams in F1 and maybe uncover a dark secret or two.

Part 7: Williams

Frank Williams

Frank Williams

Williams F1 is owned by Sir Frank Williams (51.3%); Brad Hollinger (11.7%), Patrick Head (9.3%), with 24.1% traded on the stock market and 3.6% held by the employee trust fund.

Williams represents all that is good about F1 – run by Franks daughter Claire it is an organisation with motor racing at its very heart. Williams has held to the core value of being a constructor and refuse to become a “B” team in the mould of Alpha Tauri or Haas.

In February 2019 telecommunications company ROKiT was announced as title sponsors of Williams F1.

ROKiT is the brainchild of philanthropist and business innovator, John Paul DeJoria and British entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick. The driving force is Kendrick who has had a long association with Williams and the automotive industry, thankfully for Williams Kendrick is a highly regarded businessman.

Just when you thought it was going so well.

ROKiT Williams Racing announced a major new multi-year partnership with ROKiT Drinks, commencing from 2020. ROKiT Drinks is a premium beverage business with a unique collection of award-winning spirits, beers, water, and energy drinks.

So, another team takes the alcohol and energy drinks dollar.

Sadly, it is no secret that the team are in trouble financially, times have been hard on and off the track in recent years with Williams selling some of the family silver in the shape of Williams Advanced Engineering late last year.

Williams gets 2 new sponsors

Nicholas Latifi with one of the family brands

Williams has recently announced a loan from Michael Latifi a Canadian billionaire and father of newly signed driver Nicholas through his Latrus racing company. The loan is secured on the team’s contract to race in F1 and also covers 112 historic cars. It could be argued Latifi is securing the drive for his son something Lawrence Stroll did at Williams to the tune of a staggering $80 million but I think not.

Latifi has a taste for team ownership with his 10% stake in the McLaren team and this is most likely a pre-emptive move to take control at Williams.

Why move so quickly?

Well apart from William's need for cash Latifi will be only too aware of a possible adversity in one Sylvan Adams, yes you guessed it, another Canadian billionaire.

Adams is backing William's new test driver Roy Nissany and has a desire to see Nissany fast-tracked to be a F1 driver in 2021. Adams commented, “Of course, he has a few hurdles to accomplish before he can be selected to be one of the two drivers”. There is the question of Nissany gaining a superlicence but buying the team would certainly help get his man over said hurdles!

Latifi has placed himself in pole position if William's situation deteriorates but he may want to look over his shoulder in case Toto Wolff returns post-Mercedes to his old hunting ground.

Garry Sloan is the author of “In the pit lane - F1 exposed” details at inthepitlane.com

Copyright ©2020 Garry Sloan


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