Deputy team principal of the Williams Formula 1 team Claire Williams has denied reports suggesting the team is up for sale.
Rumours in and around the paddock have suggested that Dmitry Mazepin (father of Formula 2 driver Nikita) was said to be interested in purchasing the team and that discussions had taken place regarding investment and possible shareholding recently.
“I saw those stories, I paid little attention to them,” said Claire Williams when asked about the rumours.
“I haven’t met Mr Mazepin to talk about that. We had a brief conversation in the mid part of last year but subsequent to that there have been no conversations.
“I’d just like to be really categoric about it: Williams is not for sale, I have no intention of putting Williams up for sale. I don’t see why we would.”
Williams have struggled with money over the last couple of years and were receiving investment from Lawrence Stroll during the 2017 and ’18 season when his son Lance was driving for the team.
Also, at the end of last year Williams lost its main title sponsor, Martini adding extra pressure on the team.
Luckily, new sponsor ROKiT and some of Robert Kubica’s sponsors help breathed new life into the struggling Williams squad.
However, so far this season results have not been brilliant and both cars and drivers have really struggled with the handling of the 2019 car. As a result, the prize money the team gets has been affected too.
All these scenario’s and more have raised further question marks over the team’s financial well-being.
“In times like this that the team is going through at the moment, this rumour always comes up,” Williams added.
“But with my business head on, when your team isn’t doing well selling at this juncture, it wouldn’t be the right time to do it.
“We’d only investigate that opportunity if we were doing well. That’s the right time to sell.
“Williams is in this sport and has been for more than four decades and we’ve never wanted to sell.
“This is what we do, we don’t have anything else to do. So, it’s not on the market, I don’t want to sell it to anybody, I want to go out and prove that we can do what we are in the sport to do, and that’s to get back on the podium and win races again.
“That may take us a long time, but it took Frank more than 10 years to do it when he first started in this sport, and I’m sure that we’ll have a lot more stuff thrown at us.
“But you don’t give up when times get tough. It’s a test of your character to continue and prove to everybody that you can do it.”
The team’s Azerbaijan weekend didn’t get off to the best start when George Russell ran over a loose manhole cover damaging the car, subsequently ending the young Brit’s session. As a result of this, the remainder of this morning’s free practice session was cancelled whilst the other manhole covers around the track were checked.
However, this afternoon’s session is expected to go ahead at the scheduled time.
Header image from Autosport
By Jordan Hollands.