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Williams considers selling Formula 1 team because of financial woes

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Williams has announced it is considering selling its struggling Formula 1 team due to financial problems.

In a statement, the Williams Grand Prix Holdings group confirms potential options include the sale of a minority or majority stake, as well as a total buy-out of the company. The statement also says Williams is in “preliminary discussions” with potential investors.

The Group reports a loss of $16 million for the year ending 2019. In the previous year, it made a profit of $15.9 million.

Along with news of a possible sale, the team is cutting ties immediately with title sponsor ROKit.

Williams is one of the most successful programs in Formula 1 history with nine constructors’ championships and seven driver championships.

But after a solid run from 2014-17 that included two third-place finishes in the constructors’ standings, the team has fallen dramatically. It has finished at the bottom of the standings in each of the last two seasons.

In his own comments, Williams CEO Mike O’Driscoll said: “The financial results for 2019 reflect the recent decline in competitiveness of the F1 operation and the consequent reduction in commercial rights income.

“After four years of very solid performance in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship … We endured a couple of very difficult seasons.”

Williams and Formula 1 as a whole face tough financial pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed and altered the 2020 calendar. On Thursday, the Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth event canceled this season.

Despite its challenges, the team says it is funded and ready to compete when racing resumes. Britain’s George Russell and Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi are its two drivers.

Williams seeks to stabilize ahead of a pivotal 2021 season for the sport.

Next year will include the debut of a $145 million cost cap; new technical and sporting regulations; and a sliding scale for aerodynamic development to help smaller teams close the gap to their bigger rivals.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”