Business

Williams cuts losses as revenues accelerate

Felipe Massa Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Williams is currently third in the F1 constructors' championship

The Williams Formula 1 Grand Prix team has cut half-year losses following a sharp rise in revenues.

Overall revenues for the team's holding company rose by £19.1m to £63.2m for the six months to 30 June.

Losses before interest, taxation and other costs were £1.4m - considerably better than the £19.6m loss reported in the same period last year.

The division that sells Formula 1-derived technology and expertise, had a strong half-year.

Williams Advanced Engineering generated revenues of £10.9m, £3.1m higher than last year, with profits up £200,000 to £1m.

Chief executive Mike O'Driscoll said: "Our first-half results represent a significant improvement over the same period in 2014, with strong revenue growth and positive cash flow.

"The improved performance of our Formula One team on the track is now reflected in both higher commercial rights income and increased sponsorship revenue, bolstering our financial results."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Williams driver Felipe Massa is currently fifth in the F1 drivers' championship

The team finished third in the constructors' championship last year and success had continued into 2015, the company said.

Felipe Massa is currently in fifth place in the drivers' championship with 82 points, while Valtteri Bottas is sixth with 79 points.

However, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads the pack with 227 points.

Williams is in third place on the constructors' leader board with 161 points for this season, but that is some distance behind Ferrari on 242 points and Mercedes on 426 points.

Mr O'Driscoll said the recent agreement of a multi-year contract with global defence firm General Dynamics underlined the progress being made by the engineering division.

But he added: "We face continued cost pressures due to the spending levels of our major Formula 1 competitors, and this challenging environment will undoubtedly continue in the near term."

The team faced an uncertain future following the financial crash in 2008, with a lack of investment, rising costs and spiralling debts.

As well as setting up the engineering division in an attempt to create other sources of income, Williams created a hybrid power business. It worked on adapting F1 technology for buses and trams, and was sold last year to GKN.

Other teams have also diversified, with McLaren creating a large and growing road car operation.

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