F1 Williams sells minority stake to Austrian group
Williams and co-founder Patrick Head have been sole owners of the team since its creation in 1977, but now have agreed to sell an unspecified percentage of the team for an undisclosed amount to an investment firm headed by former racing driver Toto Wolff.
"I want to emphasize he is a minority shareholder and the company is still totally under my control," Williams said Friday in a conference call. "I have no intention of losing control of this company."
The team boss said he had "never taken any money out of the business in 40 years" but was conscious of his advancing age, adding the sale would provide funds for his private finances.
"I'm 67, I am not going to live forever, and I want to take care of my private needs," Williams said. "The sale is entirely for private reasons - its time I paid a few bills."
Williams said he intended to stay on as head of the F1 team as long as possible.
Asked when he might retire, he replied: "I have got no idea. Formula One is my life. As long as I am mentally and physically healthy I will continue."
Wolff's investment firms Marchfifteen and Marchsixteen were previously involved in financing companies involved in rally and touring car racing, while having other significant non-sporting interests.
Wolff used to race in Formula Ford in Austria and Germany, plus GT, rally and touring car racing. He co-owns a management company with ex-Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen.
Williams described him as "a very shrewd businessman" who had the capacity to generate new sponsorship revenue for the team.