Claire Williams says now is ‘absolutely the right time’ to open up the possibility of selling its F1 team because the upcoming change in technical and sporting regulations makes it a more attractive proposition for potential investors.

The Grove outfit sent shockwaves through the sport earlier this week by confirming it is looking at a number options to embark on a ‘new strategic direction’, one that could result in the team being taken out of the Williams family hands for the first time since its F1 debut in 1977.

Though the team stresses selling the team to another party is just one of the options being considered, it does mark a significant change in tact for one of F1’s most historic and successful operations.

However, though the news comes at a critical time for Williams after uncompetitive seasons in 2018 and 2019 led to a drop in revenue – a situation made more complicated by a delay in the start of the 2020 F1 season – Claire Williams is confident the implementation of a budget cap in 2021 and an overhaul of the technical regulations for 2022 gives the team a chance to return to form with the right investment.

Indeed, Williams has demonstrated this before after bouncing back from its then-worst campaign in 2013 to finish third in the 2014 constructors’ standings at the start of the new V6 Hybrid era.

With this in mind, Williams is confident potential investors will look at the team favourably as a prime opportunity to revive its fortunes.

“This is absolutely the time [to evaluate investment opportunities] because of our ambition,” Claire told F1.com. “The ambition we have to return this team to where we all want it to be, where it has been in the past, it takes money, and we need inward investment in order to achieve what we want to achieve and help us with the ambition that we have in F1.”

“The world is going to be a very different place, but I'm sure that there will still be appetite to sponsor teams in our sport, a sport that's undergoing huge change, change for the good particularly around the technical regulations.

“That will make Formula 1 more exciting than I think it currently is at the moment and I think it's hugely exciting - our sport - and that's got to be something that's got to attract big brands around the world to come and showcase their brand and share the journey that Williams is on at the moment.

“I have every confidence we will find the investment that we need.”

Could the Williams name disappear from the F1 grid?

If Williams does indeed follow through on selling the team, it could well have the effect of the Williams name disappearing from its management structure and/or the name entirely.

However, as one of the sport’s most historic marques, its strong brand could remain as much of an asset as the team itself. Moreover, though results haven’t reflected this in recent years in tandem with its dwindling revenue, Williams still has excellent facilities that make it an attractive proposition for anyone in the market to invest.

As for who could be among though to have held initial talks with Williams, Michael Latifi – father of Williams F1 driver Nicholas – may be willing to invest more cash in the team, while Chanoch Nissany has also recently provided an injection of cash as a result of his son Roy landing a test driver position.

 

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