Despite their torrid start to the 2019 Formula One season, Claire Williams denies the outfit that carriers her name is up for sale.
Pre-season talk in the paddock suggested that Williams are a team in trouble, having come off the back of a painful decline in form over the last few years, and with a car not ready in time to start pre-season testing, many suspected that the once dominant outfit were struggling for the required funds to compete at the pinnacle of world motorsport.
Unfortunately for Williams, the troubles didn't end when the racing began, the new 2019 FW42 proving to be arguably the worst car in the long and illustrious history of the squad, firmly rooted to the rear of the field and leaving drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica to complain that lack of parts and mysterious handling characteristics are proving the machine to be near undrivable so far this year.
Despite what can only be described as a heart-breaking collapse of respectability for this once proud outfit, Deputy Team Principle Claire Williams remains steadfast in her position that Williams will remain an independent outfit in future, firmly closing off suggestions that the squad could be available for purchase as they look to make up ground to the teams ahead.
"I’d just like to be really categorical about it: Williams is not for sale. I have no intention of putting Williams up for sale. I don’t see why we would said Williams when broached on the subject in Baku.
"I think certainly in times like this, that the team is going through at the moment, these rumours always come up, but with a business head on, when you’re team isn’t doing well selling at this juncture wouldn’t be the right time to do so. I think you would only investigate that opportunity if you are doing well. That’s the right time to sell.
"But 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 is not on the market. I don’t want to sell it to everybody. I want to go out and prove that we can do what we are in this sport to do – and that’s to get back on the podium and to win races again."
Rumours have been rife in the Grand Prix paddock that billionaire Dmitry Mazepin has an interesting in purchasing the squad following his failed bid last year to buy out Force India, however these have been rubbished by Williams as mere speculation, with no contact between the two parties having taken place since the middle of last season.
"I saw those stories; I paid little attention to them," she said. "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".Williams have maintained throughout the year that they are in a safe financial position, and that further investment is not necessary to enable them to continue going Grand Prix racing. However with such a disastrous start to the season showing little sign of improving anytime soon, it will be interesting to see just how long the team can maintain their independent status if they are truly looking to return to race winning form in the coming years.
On a personal note, as a long time Williams fan, the idea of losing independent status is unbearable for me, and I deeply hope that this dark path the team are currently travelling can be overcome in the next few months and years.
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