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Ecclestone not involved in Williams buy-out

NEWS STORY
29/08/2020

It's understandable, that as F1 returns to two of the most historic circuits on the calendar, the question on everyone's lips concerns the future of one of the sport's most historic teams.

Despite the hyperbole of the official press release, little is known about what the deal with Dorilton Capital involves and even less about the investment company itself, and while continually insisting that it is "business as usual" for the Grove outfit, Claire Williams was keen to clear up one little matter; former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone is not involved in the deal.

Dorilton Capital made the transaction through an investment company called BCE Ltd, BCE, of course, being the initials of the billionaire former team owner and architect of the sport as we now know it.

Asked if anything should be read into this, Williams was quick to respond.

"I spoke to Mr Ecclestone earlier in the week and I did ask him if it was him behind it," she said, quickly adding; "that's a joke, by the way.

"Bernie has nothing to do with our new ownership," she continued. "Dorilton Capital is completely independent. Bernie is not the new owner of Williams."

Asked for more information about the team's new owners and the plan moving forwards, she said: "In this kind of financial environment, it's never easy to undertake these transactions but we are very happy at Williams that we have managed to secure new owners, but also owners that we know are hugely passionate about this sport and also about Williams.

"They have very clear ambitions for where they want to see this team and they are prepared to put that investment into the team in order to do that. For the moment, it's business as usual, nothing changes in the here and now, and we're looking forward to going racing this weekend.

"I won't be lying if I said it hasn't been emotional over the past few months," she continued, "but it has been a few months so we have all managed to get our heads around it and this can only be a good things for Williams.

"We have always in our family put this team first. It's always been at the heart of the Williams family. We've put our people first and we've put the success and the future of our team first in making any kind of decisions in what we do. So this was almost, I suppose, a no-brainer for us. The team needed the investment and the team now has a really bright future under its new owners. I think most importantly for the fans out there, you will still see the Williams name racing in Formula 1."

Of course, the words "investment company" do not imply passion or tradition, and when asked if the team's new owners actually understand the sport, Williams said: "As I said, the Williams family have always put this team first and we wanted to make sure that we would be able to find new owners that did understand this sport.

"I can't go into a whole lot of detail as to the people behind Dorilton. That will become clearer over the... we will be able to make that clearer over the coming weeks and months but they've done a huge amount of due diligence since the start of this process. They were in the process from the beginning, they have spent an awful lot of time behind the scenes going through everything that you would expect them to go through to understand our team but also to understand the sport. They have some very strong advisors as well, who have been helping them through this process to build their knowledge and of course there's still going to be a learning process for them but they are already within the team, they're working on Grove with our team there currently in order to understand what's required moving forward. So I have absolute confidence that they are the right people to take this team forward."

Asked why so little is known about the company, Williams replied: "They are a US-based investment firm. Their chairman is a gentleman called Matthew Savage. Their CEO is another gentlemen called Darren Fultz. They own a number of different businesses. They've been in operation since 2009. They have 60 businesses under management; within that portfolio there's a broad spectrum of industries across which they work and obviously they haven't been in motor sports before and they are very excited about this opportunity.

"I'm not sure that there's much more that we can explain about who Dorilton actually are and I'm sure you're going to be seeing them at a race track soon."

However, pushed on claims that Dorilton is not spending its own money but that of an unknown family - hence the Ecclestone speculation - she admitted: "I can confirm that's the case."

Asked if shareholders like Brad Hollinger and Toto Wolff remain, she revealed that "Dorilton Capital has bought the full shareholding of Williams, so they are 100% owners", however, pushed on the identity of the family behind the deal, she said "I have no comment to make".

Asked if she will continue in her role as team boss, she said: "I am in my role, I'm here, I'm doing my job, I'm actually deputy team principal, not team principal. My father is team principal still and it is business as usual."

In a separate interview with Sky Sports, Williams said she believes the deal will "make Williams great again", presenter Simon Lazenby subsequently making clear his obvious distaste for the "strapline".

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Editor, 30/08/2020 7:00

"@ @R1Racing71

Unfortunately, Christian has suffered a recent bereavement, and as we have often said, some things are more important than F1.

However, we are certain he will soon be on the case.
"

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2. Posted by @R1Racing71, 29/08/2020 20:30

"@ed On a serious note, I’d say Chris Sylt knows exactly who’s behind this.
Come on pit pass , dish the dirt and claim a world exclusive ;)"

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3. Posted by Editor, 29/08/2020 20:14 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 29/08/2020 20:19)

"@R1Racing71

Shhh....

We hear that Prince Malik is also involved..."

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4. Posted by @R1Racing71, 29/08/2020 20:09

"Rich Energy. It’s Rich Energy isn’t it.!"

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5. Posted by *TestaRossa*, 29/08/2020 16:48

"make it great again ? i heard that slogan 4 year ago somewhere and the result is chaos now."

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