Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of the all-conquering Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Team has bought a 5% share in Williams Racing in an effort to ensure the survival of one of Formula 1’s most iconic teams.
Former Williams Executive Director Wolff, who acquired a 30% share of Williams in 2009, remained with the team until 2013, before leaving to take the reins at Mercedes F1 in whom he’d also bought a 30% share.
He held on to his Williams stake until 2014 when he sold 20% to American businessman Brad Hollinger & offloaded the remaining 10% in 2016.
In having a part ownership of both Williams and Mercedes Toto Wolff secured a 1-2-3-4 in both qualifying and the race at the 2014 Italian Grand Prix – a feat unmatched in the modern era.
Wolff oversaw Williams’ last win – the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – as Executive Director, and since leaving Williams he’s gone on to oversee twelve straight Formula 1 World Championships (x6 Driver and x6 Constructors) with Mercedes.
Toto Wolff’s recent investment in Williams comes in the form of a ‘Security’. Now, not being a finance man, I’ve done a little reading on Shares vs Securities and I’m f*cked if I can tell the difference! So if there’s anyone out there than can explain it to me, I’d be more than happy to hear from you.
Quite what Toto Wolff’s investment means for Williams – other than the immediate cash injection of 5% of the company’s worth – is as yet unclear.
Perhaps Toto Wolff is trying to chuck a few quid in the coffers of the ailing team at a time they need it most, at a level that won’t cause a conflict of interests with his role at Mercedes.
Or maybe it’s more significant. He’s not likely to throw money at an organisation that’s going to go belly up any time soon. He now has an interest in the Williams team, and with his significant influence at Mercedes Benz and incredible track record of success he’s perfectly placed to help.
Or there is the possibility that he’s invested so that he can have a say in the future direction of the team, in an effort to ensure that any potential owners have the best interest of the team and of the sport at heart.
Wolff has always seemed to me to be someone who – whilst understandably looking after the interests of his own team – cares about the wellbeing of F1.
In ensuring the health of Williams – a large part of Formula 1‘s heritage and a significant player today – Wolff might have just actually made an investment in F1 by proxy.