Frank Williams sells share of team
Frank Williams and Patrick Head have sold an interest in the Williams team to an Austrian investment company, headed up by part-time GT racer and rally driver Christian 'Toto' Wolff. The percentage sold and the amount paid have not been disclosed.
This is the first time anybody other than Williams and Head have held an interest in the outfit, in a deal that will see Wolff sit on the company's board. But Williams insisted he will still head and control the team, as he has done since the company's formation in 1977.
"I have no intention of stopping my involvement in this company or of ceasing my Formula One activities," he said. "I cannot stress highly enough that Toto is a minority shareholder. The company is still under my control and I will not relinquish control of the business until I go completely. It's simply that I want to take care of one or two private needs. I've never taken a penny out of the business in 40 years and time is getting on a bit."
Williams added that Toto's extensive connections would benefit the team, most likely in finding sponsorship. "Nothing changes really," he said. "Adam Parr, as our CEO, runs the business on a day-to-day basis. I have a keen interest in the sponsorships of the team and work fairly extensively on that with all the other guys here. Patrick is still very involved, and comes in every day.
"Of course Toto is a very shrewd businessman and has created and invested in a number of businesses and sold them on for a profit, so him being involved is a benefit to everyone who supports the team, namely our partners and team members."
Wolff's investment company also holds an interest in HWA - the company that builds Mercedes DTM cars - and a Red Bull backed rallying project, Baumschlager Rallye Racing. Wolff himself runs a driver development programme with two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen as well as competing in the Austrian Rally Championship and FIA GTs from time to time. He is also the partner of DTM driver Susie Stoddard.