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Williams F1 team records £34m loss, but claims the future looks brighter

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Williams F1 team records £34m loss, but claims the future looks brighter
Apr 27, 2015, 9:11 AM

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, the parent group of the Williams F1 team, today announced its financial results for the year end 2014 with a whopping...

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, the parent group of the Williams F1 team, today announced its financial results for the year end 2014 with a whopping £34.3m loss. It is likely to be the nadir in the group's financial situation, as a combination of factors combined to cause the results; the huge escalation in 2014 costs from the hybrid turbo engines at the same time as poor track performances in the preceding years.

The results do not reflect Williams' renaissance last season, the effects of which will appear in next year's accounts as prize money from 2014 is payable in 2015 and the team has seen a significant increase in sponsor interest with Unilever and Avenade among new sponsors joining the roster.

Also turnover was down in 2014 compared to 2013 by almost £40 million, (£130m to £90m) half of which was due to a one-off payment from Pastor Maldonado's sponsor PDVSA being posted in the 2013 accounts.

Unlike most F1 teams Williams is obliged to make public its accounts as it is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Claire Williams, Bernie Ecclestone

Williams is proud of its 'turnaround strategy' which saw it invest in the team to raise it from the mediocrity it had slumped into with a ninth placed finish in 2013. Last year's car was much better than its predecessors, but Williams also lucked out with the Mercedes engine which was far superior to the opposition last season. Also it had struggled in the last few years of the V8 era due to a failure to master the dark art of exhaust-blowing into the diffuser. This is because it had been working for a few years with Cosworth, which did not go in for that technology and so the team didn't really get on top of it during its brief spell with Renault up to the end of 2013.

There is general recognition that the costs of competition are far too high in Formula 1 and Williams is now in the risky position of trying to fight with the big boys Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, all of which have two to three times the turnover. This year they have failed to make the step from third best team to second best, however the signs are that Red Bull is in long-term trouble and it's likely that Williams will again finish third in the Constructors' Championship.

The team is staffed with 'racers', from Sir Frank and Claire Williams downwards and they have always tried to push the extra yard to try to win, even if the consequences are risky. However in Mike O'Driscoll, the chief executive, they have a serious and experienced businessman, who will not allow the company to take unsustainable financial risks as it has in the past. O'Driscoll comes from the automotive sector, most recently Jaguar Land Rover.

Williams, Ferrari

"Our much improved performance in the 2014 Championship will be seen in higher commercial rights and sponsorship income in 2015, coupled with improved performance from our Advanced Engineering division, " said O'Driscoll. "Our ambition in 2015 is to consolidate the progress we made last year, continue building the necessary foundations for future sporting and commercial success, and consequently to materially improve our financial results for the coming years."
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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams