Formula 1 will run at the historic Spa circuit in Belgium next weekend, and it was good news for the historic Williams team before the weekend gets underway. Having announced earlier in the year the group’s desire to find more capital under their “strategic review,” it was announced on Friday that American investment firm Dorilton Capital, founded only in 2009 and based in New York, had become the saviour. Allaying one potential fear, the firm announced: “The team will continue to race and compete under the Williams brand, with the chassis name remaining unchanged. Dorilton has no plans to relocate the team from Grove, its traditional home.”
Team founder, Sir Frank Williams, and the Williams’ group board gave unanimous support to the takeover deal. In a lengthy statement by his daughter, Clare, an acknowledgement of the company’s forward view acknowledged the sympatico. “When we started this process, we wanted to find a partner who shared the same passion and values, who recognised the team’s potential and who could unlock its power. In Dorilton we know we have found exactly that. People who understand the sport and what it takes to be successful. People who respect the team’s legacy and will do everything to ensure it succeeds in the future.”
And yet another piece of the puzzle that is 2021 & 2022 fell into place just hours later, with the announcement that all teams had signed the Concorde Agreement. It’s almost impossible to state how important this is for F1, especially in the current world environment. To completely dumb it down: if you want to play in F1, you have to be part of F1. By having all teams in their current form sign, it ensures a number of things that are critical for the teams and the category itself.
It affects the way, the very base of, F1’s running with television broadcast rights, the equal and fair dispersion of funds generated from such avenues, and in a determined effort to realign the category, a budget cap that should, in theory, equalise the disparity currently seen between i.e. Mercedes and Williams, their recent announcement notwithstanding in this context.
Importantly, it’s both a five-year agreement and the first brokered by Liberty Media, the owners of F1. It’s a mighty effort by the relatively fledgeling group, given the notorious tenacity of some teams to refuse to move on sticking points such as funding.
Along with the changes to the category are rumours that Nico Hulkenberg, who impressed mightily at Silverstone recently, may fill a possible vacancy. That vacancy is courtesy of the rumoured retirement of Kimi Raikkonen at season’s end. The veteran Finn has yet to re-sign and after floundering at the rear of the field this year, is said to be seriously considering that move and a return to other forms of motorsport. Team Principal for Alfa Romeo is Fred Vasseur, and he’s admitted that he’d fancy “The Hulk” on the team, with: “I think this guy is a real leader.”
The next round is at Spa and will be 44 laps of the famous circuit’s seven-kilometer track.