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ROKiT owed Williams a "significant amount"

NEWS STORY
30/05/2020

Despite its best efforts, giving Rich Energy 5-star hospitality at the 2018 United States Grand Prix, Williams was informed (by text) late at night on the final day of the weekend that the energy drink manufacturer had instead opted to go with Haas.

Depending on how one looks at it, what with the benefit of hindsight, one might argue that the Grove outfit, though understandably disappointed, had a narrow escape.

Having lost title sponsor Martini at the end of 2018, in February 2019, days before pre-season testing got underway, Williams announced a new title sponsorship with ROKiT, the telecommunications business founded by John-Paul DeJoria and Jonathan Kendrick a British entrepreneur who had previously worked as an engineer for the Grove outfit.

Just five months later, it was announced that Williams and ROKiT had decided to extend their partnership until 2023, thereby demonstrating the "long-term commitment between the two companies and a stable base from which to deliver the partnership's strategic goals, while in October Williams announced a new partnership with ROKiT Drinks, "a premium beverages business with a unique collection of award-winning spirits, beers, water and energy drinks".

Meanwhile, a miserable season was capped by the loss of sponsor energy giant PKN Orlen, who followed Robert Kubica to Alfa Romeo.

However, help was at hand in the form of Michael Latifi, father of reserve driver Nicholas, who, as his son was promoted to a full race seat, brought a number of his companies on board as partners to the Grove outfit.

In April, it was revealed that Latifi, who owns a 10% stake in McLaren, loaned Williams more than 50m, the money secured against the team's factories, land, plant machinery and even its historic collection of over one hundred title and race-winning cars.

Yesterday, the news from Williams took a further turn for the worse as it was announced that the board of Williams Grand Prix Holdings is "undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the Company", admitting that "options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole Company."

At the same time the Grove team announced that it had terminated its partnership with ROKiT, with Claire Williams subsequently stating that the team had “met all our contractual obligations to ROKiT”.

ROKiT, meanwhile said it remained fully committed to its other motorsport partnerships, which include the ROKiT Venturi Formula E team and involvement in W Series, British Rally and British Touring Car championships.

At a time Williams group revenue declined to 160.2m in 2019, from 176.5m in 2018 and EBITDA deteriorated to a loss of (13.0)m, compared to a profit of 12.9m in 2018, the F1 team's revenue declined to 95.4m in 2019, from 130.7m in 2018 and EBITDA was (10.1)m last year, compared to 16.0m the previous year.

Analysing Williams future, the official F1 website states that "figures show the telecommunications company owe Williams a significant amount - around 10m - for the period up until the end of 2019", adding that "it is likely that when the 2020 results are revealed, papers will show there is also an additional amount outstanding for the period covering this year so far".

"That's a big hole," adds the official F1 website, in a masterpiece of understatement, and quite possibly one of the final nails in the team's coffin.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by F One, 31/05/2020 13:39

"How can an F1 team end up being scammed by scum like Rokit and Rich Energy?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 30/05/2020 14:53

"How can you have your name plastered all over the car and not pay? am I missing something here. "

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by nnails, 30/05/2020 13:09

"Sponsor dont want pay because of no racing
Sponsor dont want pay because its behind a paywall
Ridiculous engine costs
Ferrari gobbles most of pie
Etc etc etc . "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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