The last of the independent teams in Formula 1 is independent no more. The Williams Formula 1 team has been sold off to Dorliton Capital. That company is a U.S-based private investment firm that will give the team a much-needed cash injection. So what happens next for the long-running team?
With the team now owned by the investment firm, it marks the end of an era for the family-owned team. The Williams family has owned and operated the team since 1977. This purchase is a significant move for them, as most of their competition is either part of multinational corporations, or have big backers behind them.
Perhaps this move will prevent Williams from suffering the same fate as Tyrell, Brabham, Jordan, BRM, and Lotus. These once-legendary teams languished in their later years and were bought by a bigger conglomerate or company. Williams did their best to stay away from that, but the level of competition seems to have forced their hand.
But while it's sad that Williams will no longer be independent, the team will still race under the same name. In a statement, the team said that the acquisition was met with “unanimous support from the Williams board, which includes Sir Frank Williams”. Other good news? The team will stay in Grove, Oxfordshire, the home of Williams for over 40 years.
Claire Williams, the current deputy team principal of the team, will still be calling the shots. It also seems that Williams will be given a degree of independence under the new management. That should be good news for its crew, staff, management, and their drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
With a cash boost coming in, this should help keep the lights on at Williams, as well as keep them on the grid for a few more years. This acquisition comes in at a good time for the team too. Next year, there will be a major technical overhaul for the cars and the budget cap should (ideally) level the playing field as well.
The team was purchased for the princely sum of €152 million (about PhP 8.7 billion), which includes the settlement of their debts over the years. With that weight off their shoulders, this gives the team more stability and funding for research and development. If Williams can capitalize on that, we might just see their cars fighting for points, or maybe even wins, by next year.
For now, though, the team still has no points but there have been a few bright spots this season. George Russell is making the most out of the FW43. So far, he is showing that the car has enough performance to make it through the second round of qualifying. Russell is also extracting the most out of the car, finishing as high as 12th during the British Grand Prix.
2021 will be a game-changer for everyone in the series, but it could be a way for Williams to bring back the glory days. For over 40 years, they have made 737 entries (and counting), getting 114 race victories, 312 podiums, and 128 pole positions. The team also has 9 constructors' championships under their belt, along with 7 world drivers' championship titles. Championship-winning drivers for the team are Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve.