Williams F1 team considers stock market flotation

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British Formula One team Williams has announced it is considering putting shares out on the stock market to ensure its future.

Team boss Frank Williams said in a statement: "For some years I have been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of Williams such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and I established the team back in 1977."

He went on to say he is looking to ensure the future of the team after he and Patrick Head have retired, and that his intention was always for Williams to remain as an independent outfit, rather than one that was sold to a manufacturer.

"I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team," he said.

"This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners."

The team, which was founded in 1977 and is based in Oxfordshire, would be the first in F1 to list on the stock market, although other sports teams have taken the step, including Manchester United in the 1990s.

Currently the team relies on prize money and sponsorship for its cash, but has not won motor racing's biggest prize since 1997 when it picked up both the driver and the team titles with Jacques Villeneuve behind the wheel.