F-1 Notes: Williams Considering Selling Shares


BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — If you have ever wanted to own a F-1 team, but perhaps didn’t have the multimillions needed to buy it, you may soon get the chance to own at least part of one. Williams is considering a flotation of shares of its team on the stock market.

Frank Williams stated that it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent constructor and that the best option is to sell shares in the team.

Williams and Patrick Head founded the team in 1977 and have remained fiercely independent although they did sell 10 percent to businessman Toto Wolff in 2009. Sir Frank will continue at the helm.

“Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder,” he said.

Any company that offers an IPO has to “open its books” and F-1 teams, not to mention Bernie Ecclestone and F-1’s financial dealings with the teams outlined in the confidential Concorde, are notorious for their secrecy. Williams chairman Adam Parr, however, said that team is working to ensure that the level of disclosure necessary will protect confidentiality.

“We will have to show our revenues and our costs,” he added. “This has nothing to do with the timing of any future [Concorde] agreement.”

– McLaren plans to use the three days of the first preseason test, which takes place at Spain’s Valencia track Feb. 1-3, testing Pirelli tires using last year’s car. Gary Paffett, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will each get one day in the car. Hamilton gets the honor of debuting the McLaren MP4-26 when the Jerez test kicks off Feb. 10.

– Renault has set brave and lofty goals for the upcoming season.

“The objective for the team is to finish within the top three in the championship,” said chief operating officer Patrick Louis.

To do that, Renault, which finished fifth in the 2010 constructors’ championship, will have to double its points total this year. And Vitaly Petrov is going to need to up his game as Robert Kubica earned 136 points compared to Petrov’s measly 27. And both drivers will need a competitive machine.

“To get along to that objective, based also on the Resource Restriction programs we have to run, we have been choosing and opting to re-insource a major part of the outsource jobs we have,” Louis revealed. “[We did this] for many, many reasons because based on a higher efficiency in-house we are going to be able to match the volumes [of production], we can improve the quality level and we can decrease the external expenditure.

“So these cost reductions, which we can reinvest into research and development, should provide the future track performance we are looking for.”

Technical director James Allison divulged that the new R31 will be radical.

“I believe that we have chosen a direction that is really on the brave end of brave,” he said.

– While Williams will have its new Cosworth-powered FW33 ready by Feb. 1, the car will carry an interim livery. The new livery will be unveiled when the team stages an official launch at a later date.