Formula 1’s managing director of motor sport Ross Brawn is hopeful the Williams name will remain in the sport and has been encouraged by the interest in the team.
Williams recently announced it was exploring all options to bring investment into the team after posting a major loss in its latest set of accounts, including the possibility of a complete sale of the company. The statement came shortly after new regulations were confirmed that include a budget cap of $145 million – which drops to $135m by 2023 – and a sliding scale of aerodynamic development opportunities to benefit the less-competitive teams, and Brawn says those changes have meant there are a number of interested parties evaluating a potential investment.
“I think what’s encouraging is there are quite a lot of sensible people looking at Williams because they can see the opportunities in the future,” Brawn told RACER. “I think they can see the improving landscape for Formula 1 – economically, commercially, and the competitiveness that an independent team should have in the future.
“I think they see it as a prime time, even in these extremely challenging times they still see it as an opportunity. So I think there’s every chance Williams will be taking on some new partners in the future.
“We’d like to see it stay as Williams, and stay with the heritage and history of Williams. It’s a great team and we’d like to retain that. I think there’s some fairly sensible people now looking at the opportunity to get involved with Williams and give it the support it needs to be successful in the future.
Brawn believes the new regulations will ensure that smaller teams and any potential new entrants will have a better chance of being successful in future, both from a sporting and business perspective.
“I think the problem in the past was there was no control over spending and the commercial model – the payments to the teams – was very heavily distorted in terms of the benefits for the top teams and very poor payments for the smaller teams,” he said.
“As of next year, that slope – if you can imagine it as a slope – has flattened. The smaller teams, the teams in the midfield and the second half of the grid will be getting a much bigger proportion of the pie than they’ve ever done before.
“The size of the pie depends on the success of Formula 1. Formula 1 was in a great place six months ago, it’s got to meet this challenge and no doubt it will have an impact on us but I think in another six or 12 months we can really get it back to where it was.
“For a smaller team, there are several aspects, but one is the commercial model is far more viable. We want a small team to be profitable. We need them to wash their faces at least. So with our prize money and with a reasonable stable of sponsors they should be able to find the funding they need to fund the team.”