In the wake of Liberty Media revealing its plans for the future of the sport from 2021, Claire Williams admitted that what she heard had left her feeling like "cracking open a bottle of Champagne".
However, as Williams Grand Prix Holdings announces its financial results for 2017, other than the fact that Liberty's proposals have yet to be agreed, there remains the little matter of the team's immediate future as it languishes at the bottom of the constructors' standings and faces losing its title sponsor at season end.
Group revenue, for the Williams group of companies, which includes Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited and Williams Advanced Engineering Limited, remained broadly unchanged in 2017 at £166.2m, compared to £167.4m in 2016.
EBITDA for 2017 was £10.8m, compared to £15.5m in 2016. This performance represents solid results at our Formula One operation and continued good progress at Williams Advanced Engineering.
Financial performance improved across both Formula One and Williams Advanced Engineering last year, offset by a reduction in non-recurring project revenue that impacted overall Group revenue and EBITDA. The Formula One business generated £125.6m in revenue in 2017 (2016: £116.7m) with an EBITDA of £16.0m (2016: £12.4m). Williams Advanced Engineering recorded revenue of £39.5m in 2017 (2016: £36.9m) with an EBITDA of £5.0m (2016: £4.2m).
"The team at Williams delivered solid results last year and our 2017 financial performance reflects that continued progress," said Mike O'Driscoll, Group Chief Executive Officer. "Revenue was up at both the Formula One operation and Williams Advanced Engineering in 2017, following on from a strong performance in 2016. Our results gave us confidence to continue investing in our facility and technical capabilities.
"Our Formula One team maintained fifth place position in the FIA Constructors' Championship for the second successive year. Williams Martini Racing was the only team, outside of the top three, to reach the podium in 2017, which was achieved by Lance Stroll at the Azerbaijan GP.
"This illustrates the large gap in competitive expenditure between the leading teams and the rest of the grid. We are hopeful that Liberty Media's long-term vision for the future of the sport can deliver a more level playing field, on which all teams can compete more fairly.
"In the meantime, we are intensely focused on improving our own performance, following a tough start to this season's campaign.
"Williams Advanced Engineering goes from strength-to-strength, and 2017 represented another year of growth. We continued to invest in our own proprietary technology, in electrification and composite technology, and together with our capabilities in aerodynamics and systems integration, we have a solid foundation for future growth. Our customer base continued to expand, attracted by our engineering expertise, innovative approach, and pace of delivery.
"Although there are many challenges on the horizon, we are well placed to succeed, with a strong and talented organization, and world class facilities. These results once again demonstrate the capabilities of the Williams team to continue to grow the business in a tough and unrelenting environment."