Sir Frank Williams’ ousting from the first Formula 1 team he helped build left him with a fiercely independent streak. It’s one he passed on to his daughter Claire Williams, the F1 team’s current deputy team principal, who quipped on Netflix’s Drive to Survive that “it would be over my dead body to see Williams sold or turned into a B-team.”
However, amidst the global economic turndown caused by COVID-19, financial troubles threatened to knock down the house the Williams family built; a house now inhabited by more than those who are Williams by blood. Realizing more than its pride was at stake, the Williams family and its board of management unanimously agreed to sell the team, selecting United States-based investment firm Dorilton Capital as its new owner.
Williams explained in a release regarding its sale to Dorilton that it selected the investment group for its promised long-term commitment to the outfit. Team management was swayed in part by Dorilton’s pledge to neither rename the team nor uproot it from its historic home of Grove, Oxfordshire. Dorilton’s chairman Matthew Savage remarked that his firm is ready to back Williams’ rebound from a backmarker to a competitive force—a transition already underway with this year’s FW43, the team’s most competitive car since 2017. This trend is anticipated to continue under F1’s upcoming budget cap and new Concorde Agreement, which will level the playing field in favor of F1’s smaller operators.
“We are delighted to have invested in Williams and we are extremely excited by the prospects for the business,” said Savage. “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 recognize the world-class facilities at Grove and confirm that there are no plans to relocate.”
“When we started this process, we wanted to find a partner who shared the same passion and values, who recognized the team’s potential and who could unlock its power,” added Claire Williams. “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,” she added.
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