Williams F1 team sold to US investment company

Williams F1

The iconic Oxfordshire Formula 1 team, Williams, has been sold to American private investment firm Dorilton Capital.

Dorilton Capital is a private investment firm headquartered in the United States with a strong track-record of building and enhancing companies with a flexible and patient investment style. Dorilton recognises and appreciates the importance of respecting and retaining Williams’ heritage and culture and is committed to maintaining its identity. The team will continue to race and compete under the Williams brand, with the chassis name remaining unchanged. Dorilton has no plans to re-locate the team from Grove, its traditional home.

Earlier in the year Williams confirmed that it was considering a sale of its F1 team in a bid to ease financial pressures, and that it was undergoing a strategic review of the best action to safeguard its future.

This follows the sale in January of a majority equity stake in Williams Advanced Engineering Limited (WAE) to funds controlled by EMK Capital LLP, an independent private equity firm.

At the time, Mike O’Driscoll, Group Chief Executive Officer of WGPH said: “We have rapidly grown WAE from an embryonic one client start-up, to a business with many clients in multiple sectors. The time is now right to sell a majority stake to enable WAE to further scale and develop its technologies. EMK Capital have a proven track record of success which will enable WAE to take advantage of these emerging opportunities and realise its full potential.”

The new Concorde Agreement is set to transform the sport and will help address the historical challenges that Williams has faced as an independent constructor, by reducing the financial and on-track disparities between teams and creating a fairer, more competitive sport. The new changes present an exciting opportunity for Williams, which together with the new ownership, will secure the long-term future of Williams at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Williams is one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams, winning grands prix for more than three decades.

After running teams on the sport’s nursery slopes, team patron Frank Williams founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966 and entered F1 in 1969 with his friend Piers Courage behind the wheel. Frank quickly earned a reputation as one of the industry’s more determined individuals and, after selling his controlling interest in his original team, he established Williams Grand Prix Engineering with British engineer Patrick Head in 1977. They built their first car, the FW06, the following year.Williams has since won 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles, nine for constructors and seven for drivers, and is the third most successful team on the grid.

But the team has suffered a downturn in revenues in recent years after dropping to the bottom of the F1 constructors’ championship in the last two seasons.

The company employs more than 600 people at its technology campus in Grove, Oxfordshire and its says there are no plans to relocate out of the county.

Mike O’Driscoll, CEO of Williams, said: “The transaction announced today marks the next stage in the history of Williams Formula 1 at an exciting time in the sport. The Company has successfully completed its strategic review and we are pleased to announce the sale to Dorilton Capital, which delivers a great outcome for shareholders and secures the long term future of the Company.”

Matthew Savage, Chairman of Dorilton Capital, said: “We are delighted to have invested in Williams and we are extremely excited by the prospects for the business. We believe we are the ideal partner for the company due to our flexible and patient investment style, which will allow the team to focus on its objective of returning to the front of the grid. 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 recognise the world class facilities at Grove and confirm that there are no plans to relocate.”