Michael Latifi, who has already loaned Williams millions, is reportedly in ‘pole position’ to buy the beleaguered Formula 1 team. Last month Williams announced it had commenced a formal sale process as well as the departure of title sponsor ROKiT.
The announcement came in the wake of back-to-back seasons with Williams bottom of the log, a massive blow to the team’s finances. At a time when the team is struggling, Williams hasn’t been helped by Formula 1’s extended hiatus which is costing the teams millions for each race missed.
‘Whilst no decisions have been made regarding the optimal outcome yet, to facilitate discussions with interested parties, the Company announces the commencement of a ‘formal sale process’,’ read a statement from the team. Williams, though, could already have a buyer waiting in the wings in new driver Nicholas Latifi’s father, Michael.
The elder Latifi, through his Latrus Racing company, has already played a role in Williams’ survival, helping the team refinance a loan earlier this year. Another company of his, Sofina Foods, also sponsors the team. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Latifi is ‘in pole position’ to buy Williams.
The Italian publication claims he is ready to put down 135 million euros as he feels Williams is a good investment and should remain on the grid. That it would pretty much guarantee his son, Nicholas, a job for as long as he wants is just a bonus.
Should Latifi and Williams fail to agree terms, Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin is reportedly also interested in the team. Mazepin, whose son Nikita races in Formula 2, tried to buy Force India back in 2018 but lost out to Lawrence Stroll and his Canadian consortium.
With Formula 1 introducing a budget cap next season, the hope is that teams such as Williams will have a fighting chance in future seasons. The team, which has nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ titles, last won a grand prix in 2012 with Pastor Maldonado taking the chequered flag at the Spanish GP.
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