Williams F1 racing team sold to US-based investment firm Dorilton Capital

Former Formula One champions Williams have been bought by US-based investment firm Dorilton Capital in a deal that marked the end of an era for the struggling family-owned team.

They will continue to race under the Williams name and remain at their base at Grove in Oxfordshire.

The sale of Williams Racing was supported unanimously by the board, including 78-year-old co-founder Sir Frank Williams, said the team.

Deputy principal Claire Williams, Frank’s daughter, 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, whose current drivers are Britain’s George Russell and Canadian Nicholas Latifi, announced in May it was considering selling the team as part of a strategic review.

No financial details have been given of the buyout.

Williams is the third oldest and most successful constructor in the sport’s history, with 114 wins and 16 titles, but has not won a race since 2012 and its last championship was with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.

Founded in 1977 as Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the team was at its peak in the 1980s and 1990s with champions Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Villeneuve.

The team finished last overall in 2019, despite using the same engines as champions Mercedes, and is currently last this year after six races without points.

The team’s finances have suffered as a result of poor track performance and the COVID-19 pandemic – that led to a spate of race cancellations and a season that did not start until last month.

It is hoped fresh investment can get it back towards the front of the grid.

Williams is also in line to benefit after all 10 F1 teams this week signed up to the new Concorde Agreement governing the sport from 2021 to 2025, that promises a fairer share of the revenues and a more level playing field between the big teams and smaller private ones.

“The new Concorde Agreement is set to transform the sport and will help address the historical challenges that Williams has faced as an independent constructor,” a team statement said.

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.”

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