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Williams hoping to develop Jaguar links

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 10, 2011, 11:38 PM IST
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Williams hoping to develop Jaguar links
Williams hope to build a long-term partnership outside of F1 with Indian-owned sportscar maker Jaguar.

London: Former champions Williams hope to build a long-term partnership outside of Formula One with Indian-owned sportscar maker Jaguar, team chairman Adam Parr said on Tuesday.

Williams, struggling on the race track with their worst start to a season, announced a partnership last week with Tata Motors' Jaguar to develop a limited edition hybrid 320kph supercar costing in excess of $ 1 million.

"The Jaguar announcement I think is very fundamental to understanding our business going forwards," said Parr, who added the deal would be "earnings positive" in 2011.

"Our plan is to develop a very strong relationship with Jaguar Land Rover outside of Formula One, to have a long term partnership based around high performance road cars," he told Reuters in an interview.

"Although we are an independent team, our greatest years have been ones in partnership with a car maker," continued the Briton after Williams Grand Prix Holdings announced what he termed "solid, decent" results for 2010.

"This Jaguar relationship is outside Formula One but...it brings stature, it will bring additional revenues to the company and also it's an enormous vote of confidence in our business and indeed in our team.

"That will help us attract better people and to perform on the track as well as off," he said.

Williams's results, the last before an initial public offering and listing in Frankfurt in March, showed a 33 percent increase in pre-tax profits on a like for like basis from 4.5 million pounds to 7.7 million.

Turnover was down from 108.3 million pounds to 91 million. The company said cash at hand more than doubled to 27.2 million and debt reduced to 2.4 million from 9.3 the previous year and 24.8 in 2007.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

The team have yet to score a point in four races this season, with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Venezuelan rookie Pastor Maldonado drawing their latest blank in Turkey on Sunday.

Parr said the slump, though temporary, had financial implications for the team in a sport where television and prize money paid to teams is dictated by the overall championship standings.

"Our performance on the track is fundamental to our future, but not over four races," he said. "We cannot afford to have an extended period of non-performance. We must turn this season around very visibly and as soon as possible."

Williams have not won a race since 2004, although they took a pole position in Brazil last year, and their last title was in 1997 with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.

Williams have already announced staff changes, with technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson leaving at the end of the year and former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan arriving in June.

The team have lost some big sponsors, notably troubled British bank RBS, but brought in the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA with Maldonado this season.

Parr had no qualms about showing a profit in a sport where teams have traditionally spent everything they can get their hands on to make the car go faster.

"The only way that this sport is going to be sustainable in the future is if an independent team like Williams can compete in Formula One on a budget that is less than its income," he said.

"Absolutely we should be making a return on our assets, on our investment through Formula One as well as other business areas.

"We have averted major problems in this sport and have a grid of 12 teams precisely because we all agreed that costs were out of control and spending should not determine performance in Formula One."

Williams have also diversified with Williams Hybrid Power and a technology centre in Qatar and Parr hoped the team could build on the Middle Eastern relationship.

"We believe it can be a relationship that can broaden and benefit the business, the sporting side as well in the near term," he said.

"Our partner in Qatar has identified the value of sport to promote itself and its nation, its economy and presence around the world. We hope that will be something that they would consider with us as well."

First Published: May 10, 2011, 11:38 PM IST
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