The Williams Formula One team have been bought by US-based investment firm Dorilton Capital after being put up for sale in May, in a deal that reportedly values the team at €152 million (US$179.5 million).
The announcement of the purchase, which according to Insider Media sees the former owners receive €112 million (US$132 million) after repayment of third party debts and transaction expenses - comes in the week that all ten teams competing in the global motorsport series signed up to the new Concorde Agreement governing the sport from 2021 to 2025. That operating contract with Formula One has been designed to ensure a more level playing field in the future.
A statement from Williams said: 'This marks the beginning of an exciting new era in the history of Williams, which with its new owner, is well positioned to capitalise upon the sweeping rule changes coming into Formula One with the new Concorde Agreement.'
The British team, who have been in family ownership since being founded by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head, will continue to race under the Williams name and remain at their base at Grove in Oxfordshire.
Williams have won seven drivers’ championships and nine constructors’ titles since entering the Formula One grid in 1977, but the last of those came with Jacques Villeneuve behind the wheel in 1997 and it is hoped fresh investment can get them back towards the front of the grid.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “This may be the end of an era for Williams as a family-owned team, but we know it is in good hands.
“The sale ensures the team’s survival but most importantly will provide a path to success.”
Williams had announced a strategic review in May, seeking fresh investment after labouring at the back of the grid in recent years.
The team was in the upper echelons of the sport throughout the 1990s, propelling Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Alain Prost and Villeneuve to the title, but began to fall off the pace in the mid-2000s.
They finished third in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015 with a driver line-up of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas but have been tenth and last in each of the past two seasons, and find themselves there again in 2020.
Dorilton Capital chairman Matthew Savage said: “We believe we are the ideal partner for the company due to our flexible and patient investment style, which will allow the team to focus on its objective of returning to the front of the grid.
“We look forward to working with the Williams team in carrying out a detailed review of the business to determine in which areas new investment should be directed. We also recognise the world class facilities at Grove and confirm that there are no plans to relocate.”