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US investor considering a larger stake in Williams F1 team

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US investor considering a larger stake in Williams F1 team
Feb 26, 2015, 11:18 AM

Brad Hollinger, who has become a 10% shareholder in the Williams F1 team after acquiring shares from Toto Wolff, has said that he may consider buyi...

Brad Hollinger, who has become a 10% shareholder in the Williams F1 team after acquiring shares from Toto Wolff, has said that he may consider buying up more shares in the team that finished third in last year's F1 championship.

The American, who runs the Vibra Healthcare business in the US, a network of private hospitals, bought 5% off Wolff soon after the Austrian became head of Mercedes Benz motorsport. He exercised his option to buy a further 5% recently, taking Wolff down to just below 5%, which he intends to retain.

However speaking to selected media in Oxford this week, this website asked Hollinger whether he would be interested in buying more shares in the company,

"Yes. I would not preclude adding to my investment," he said.

"This (investment) gives me the chance to be part of a successful team and the return on investment will be substantial over time. We are determined to make it a profit centre.

Brad Hollinger, Williams F1 team

"I have had a passion for F1 since the 1960s. I went to see the cars at Watkins Glen and was hooked. I'm in business to make money and there is an opportunity to make money in F1. We are on the cusp of a huge explosion of growth in this sport, the social media side for example is untapped, it's a huge opportunity. I like what's happening in this organisation, the culture is fantastic and the opportunity with Williams Advanced Engineering (spinning off F1 technologies into other businesses) are huge.

"F1 has been successful despite not taking off in the USA, " Hollinger added.

The American has no plans to put his Vibra Healthcare logo on the Williams car, but does plan to effect business connections between multinational companies with whom he deals in the medical sector and Williams and also to look for opportunities and applications for Williams Advanced Engineering technologies in the medical field. McLaren does something similar repurposing the standard F1 Electronic Control Unit, which it designs and manufactures for the FIA for use in children's heart hospitals.

Williams has many shareholders including some institutions, that bought some of the 20% floated in the Frankfurt Stick Exchange. These were some of former technical director Patrick Head's shares. Head still retains 9% which is where Hollinger may well look next.

Frank Williams

Sir Frank Williams, who had a bout of illness last season but is back at work and in good spirits, has the controlling interest with 52%, Wolff has 5%, Hollinger 10%, Head 9%, 20% is listed on the Frankfurt Exchange and the remainder is in an employee trust scheme.

Williams announced a half year loss in 2014, due to increased costs of competing due to hybrid turbo engines, but also significant investment in people and infrastructure to regain competitiveness. There has been a subsequent windfall of prize money and fresh sponsorship from brands like Unilever and Avenade, but CEO Mike O'Driscoll indicated that the full year report was likely to show a loss for the last accounting year.

At a time of significant negativity around F1 on many levels, this investment from a US businessman must be considered a positive, as is the imminent entry of Haas F1 team, backed by American Gene Haas, which will be essentially a Ferrari B team.

Williams F1 team
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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams