Williams F1 team has announced its results for the 2010 financial year and it shows that while the team’s turnover has shrunk from £108.3 million to £91 million – a drop of 8.5%, its profits increased by 28% from £4.5 million to £5.8 million.
At the same time it has announced that it is collaborating with Jaguar, now owned by Tata Motors, on the hybrid supercar, C-X75.
The team floated some of the shares on the Franfurt stock exchange in March, the method by which founder and engineering boss Patrick Head could make his exit. These have fluctuated quite a bit since floatation. Head said in Australia that although he has cashed in most of his shareholding, he is likely to move across to be involved in the Williams Hybrid business, which will include the Jaguar project.
The arrival of the Resource Restriction Agreement and the move away from manufacturer dominated F1 has been a blessing for Williams meaning that they can survive with turnover of £91 million, a relatively low figure compared to the crazy numbers of a few years ago, when Williams was finding it hard to compete. Frank Williams made a point when announcing the figures of saying that the sponsorship climate has been extremely harsh in the last year or two. The signing of the Venezuelan oil company deal has been a life saver in that respect as blue chip sponsors like RBS and Phillips fell by the wayside.
Although the core business of the team is F1 racing, Williams has diversified as an engineering firm in recent years, particularly into hybrid technology and has a partnership with the Qatar government to develop commercial uses for the hybrid technology, which should provide a steady revenue stream in future. The aim is to develop the flywheel technology for use on buses and trains and wind farms.
Meanwhile Williams this weekend also announced that it has gone into partnership with Jaguar to build the C-X75, a hybrid supercar which will have supercar performance with just 99/km CO2 emissions. The vehicle will go from 0-100mph in 6 seconds and have over 200mph top speed.
Legendary Jaguar designer Ian Callum said that the C-X75 will be ‘the finest looking and most innovative Jaguar every produced” which given some of he classics that have worn the ‘leaper’ badge over the years, is quite a statement.
The announcement of this supercar partly explains why chairman Adam Parr dropped that line into a Reuters interview recently about F1 running on electric only in the pit lane – here was an example of high performance and electric working together and lo and behold Williams is going to be doing something similar.
But the move is quite significant in that Jaguar got pretty badly burnt by F1 during its short and inglorious stay in the sport in the early 2000s, ironically centred on the same Milton Keynes-based team which is now a world beater, rebranded as Red Bull Racing.
Williams has plenty of challenges ahead however. The technical department is being restructured with Sam Michael making way for Mike Coughlan in a phased handover this year. Also there are some strained relationships within the team as it passes through a rocky period of change.