Williams has announced it is considering selling a minority or majority stake in its Formula 1 team as it aims to safeguard the British outfit’s future in a new “strategic direction”.

In light of financial pressures due to the delayed 2020 season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams confirmed it is looking at various options including a full sale of the team.

Two successive years finishing at the bottom of the constructors’ standings has also had a negative impact on the Grove-based team, who revealed it is in the “formal sale process”.

In a statement Williams said: “As part of this new strategic direction, the WGPH [Williams Grand Prix Holdings] board is undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the Company.

“Options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole Company.

“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’.”

Williams has opted to appoint financial advisors to assist the team in its review and search for parties interested in a potential investment or takeover.

“The Company is not in receipt of any approaches at the time of this announcement and confirms that it is in preliminary discussions with a small number of parties regarding a potential investment in the Company,” it added.

“There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made. “The WGPH board reserves the right to alter or terminate the process at any time and if it does so it will make an announcement as appropriate.

“The WGPH board also reserves the right to reject any approach or terminate discussions with any interested party at any time.

“While the Company has faced a number of challenges, Williams currently remains funded and ready to resume racing when the calendar allows in 2020.

“The WGPH board believes that the strategic review and formal sale process is the right and prudent thing to do in order to take time to consider a full range of options and put the Formula 1 team in the best possible position for the future.”

The possible sale of the team comes after Williams revealed its 2019 financial figures that resulted in a £13 million loss, down from a £12.9 million profit the previous year.

Group revenue declined from £176.5m in 2018 to £160.2m in 2019, while F1 revenue also showed a drop to £95.4m from £130.7m in 2018, with losses of £10.1 million in comparison to a £16 million profit the year before.

Williams also confirmed it had ended its partnership with title sponsor ROKiT, despite signing a multi-year deal with the telecommunications company earlier this year.

“The financial results for 2019 reflect the recent decline in competitiveness of the F1 operation and the consequent reduction in commercial rights income” said chief executive officer Mike O’Driscoll.

“After four years of very solid performance in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship during which we claimed two third and two fifth place finishes, we endured a couple of very difficult seasons.

“We have implemented a significant restructuring over the last nine months and have strengthened the technical leadership team.

“The 2020 Formula 1 season has, of course, been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will have an impact on our commercial rights income this year. The Team have also served notice to terminate its relationship with its title partner, ROKiT, and major sponsor, ROK Drinks.

“In common with many other businesses, we have taken extensive action to mitigate, including a prolonged furlough period for much of our staff. As this awful global crisis recedes, everyone at Williams Racing is looking forward to the start of the new season.”