Williams perform better off F1 track than on it

London: Williams performed better off track than on it last year with annual results on Friday showing a strong increase in turnover and net profit despite the team`s worst season in Formula One.

Chairman Adam Parr said in an interview from Australia, where the season starts next week, that the former champions were in good shape financially and could hope for a big step forward in races as well.

They still have no title sponsor after the departure of American telecommunications giant AT&T at the end of last year but Parr said there was no rush to find a replacement.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, which includes the Formula One team, reported earlier a 14.8 percent increase in turnover to 104.5 million pounds. In the core business, turnover increased by 12.7 percent to 102.3 million.

Overall group net profit was up 30 percent to 7.8 million.

Parr said Williams held net cash of 29.2 million pounds as of February 29 this year.

New business developments in Williams Hybrid Power, Williams Advanced Engineering and the Williams Technology Centre in Qatar were all "delivering promising results."

"It`s a very healthy set of results under the circumstances, meaning the general economic climate and given that aspects of our performance were not satisfactory," Parr said.

"I am very satisfied with what we have done overall with the business.

"I think this is the fourth year in a row that we have produced a profit. We have paid off our debt and built up our financial strength. We`ve been able to invest in the F1 business and new businesses."


Parr said Williams had invested in new people and technologies over the last nine months and were seeing the benefit of that.

"We don`t have a title sponsor at the moment and obviously that`s an important initiative for us. But it`s something that you have to get right because your title sponsor is the most visible of your partners," he added.

"In many ways, it sets the character of the team.

"You want a title partner who is very active in the way they promote and activate the partnership. This is not something we are going to rush into, this is something we want to get right."

Williams have Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado, who brings important backing from state oil company PDVSA, and Brazilian Bruno Senna replacing veteran compatriot Rubens Barrichello in the race line-up.

The team scored just five points last year and finished ninth overall.

Parr denied there was an over-reliance on PDVSA`s contribution.

"PDVSA is an important partner of the team in financial and other respects but it is by no means the only one. I think many other teams would be absolutely delighted to have them as a partner," he declared.

Parr would not make any prediction for the season but said he was confident the team had put in place what was needed to take a "significant step forward" on the track and was looking forward to Melbourne.

Bureau Report