Williams F1 team considering flotation
London: Former Formula One world champions Williams are considering a stock flotation in the near future to ensure their long-term independence, the team said on Friday.
Chairman Adam Parr told reporters that principal and owner Frank Williams would remain the controlling shareholder, however, and co-founder Patrick Head would also retain a substantial stake if a public offer went ahead.
Williams are the second most successful Formula One team in terms of constructors' championships, with nine between 1980 and 1997. They last won a race in 2004.
No details were given of where any flotation might take place but a team source indicated it was unlikely to be in London.
"This is not what they call a statement of intention to float. We are simply making this (planning) clear so that we can engage with people more effectively," said Parr.
"We didn't want rumours beginning that we have no ability to control."
In a statement read by Parr, Williams said he had for some time been "considering how to secure the long-term ownership of Williams such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and I established the team back in 1977."
"My goal then was to race in Formula One as an independent constructor," added the 68-year-old, who has been confined to a wheelchair since 1986.
"It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone.”
"To that end it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent constructor owned and staffed by people committed to Formula One.”
"I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team," he said.
The Briton sold a minority stake in the team to Austrian private equity investor Toto Wolff in 2009. No percentages were given but sources have indicated the shareholding was in the region of 10 percent.
Williams is believed to hold a 63 percent stake at present and Head 27 percent.
"Obviously this does sound like we are considering a flotation on a stock exchange. Absolutely. We are considering a flotation," said Parr.