Back in January, Brad Spurgeon from the IHT F1 Blog spoke of a very good source that told him Williams had sold one-third of its Formula One team to Icelandic Investment company, Baugur. While nothing was confirmed, the thought of it was particularly interesting as Williams have struggled with funds in recent years. Many, myself included, presumed that one day Toyota would buy out Frank’s thirty-year old outfit, but alas it seemed as though that wasn’t the case. And nor was the Baugur deal either, as very little was said. Until today, that is…
Williams is still Williams at the moment, but co-owner Frank Williams has gone on record saying that discussions were held, but refused to confirm if any equity-movement will happen. The Baugur Group, that has interests in several of Williams’s sponsors – Hamley’s, mydiamond.com and All Saints – had discussed backing the now failed Prodrive effort. When these discussions broke down they went to Williams, keen on promoting their brands through Formula One.
No shares have changed hands. What was being discussed was a major sponsorship deal that they have half executed and the other half comes on later this season. Frank Williams.
In other Williams-related news, Patrick Head has stated that he believes his team will visit the podium this year with some regularity. Head believes McLaren and Ferrari are too far out of reach, but thinks the Grove-based squad can challenge BMW and Renault for the best of the rest positions.
We never design a new car to be fourth. Obviously we are always designing for the highest possible position, so the result depends upon our relative capability at the time.
However, we intend to be regular podium visitors in 2008. The reliability of current Formula One cars means that this can only be achieved with a car that is close to front running performance. Patrick Head.