Williams loan is for at least 50m


It has been revealed that the loan from Michael Latifi which is secured on the entire Williams F1 operation was for an estimated 50m ($61.5m).

Documents relating to the loan to Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd, which was finalised last week, do not give the exact amount that Williams has been loaned, but the accounts reveal that the historic cars - part of the package against which the loan is secured - are valued at 20 ($24.6m) whilst the land and buildings are valued at 30.7m ($37.7m).

The loan refinances a 40m facility agreed by HSBC in 2015 and which was also secured against the company's assets.

Included in the assets is the team's contract to race in F1, therefore, should Williams default Latifi, who in 2018 secured a 10% stake in McLaren for 203.1m ($249.8m), would have total control of Williams.

To put the 50m figure in perspective, it is less than half the $150m (118.6m) budget cap the teams are currently squabbling over.

The loan, which is secured on the team’s historic car collection including many title winners, was furnished by the ubiquitous consortium, which is led by Latifi. However it is his Ontario-based Latrus Racing Corp that appears on the paperwork.

In recent years the legendary Grove outfit has struggled on and off track, and while floated on the Frankfurt’s junior exchange, it is 52.3% owned by Sir Frank Williams who founded the team in 1977.

In 2018 and again 2019 it finished last in the team standings, and, according to the Telegraph, made a net loss of 20.9m ($25.7m) on 77.8m ($95.6m) of revenue over the six months to the end of last June.

It's poor results in 2018 saw it lose a number of sponsors, most of them heading to Racing Point, however, this year Latifi, who has amassed a $2bn fortune through his Sofina group, Canada’s second-largest food company, has brought a number of sponsors on board.

News of the loan comes at a time McLaren boss, Zak Brown has expressed his fears that the sport could lose as many as four teams in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Published: 11/04/2020
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