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F1 NEWS 

Wolff open to increased Williams role

New Williams shareholder Toto Wolff says he hopes to play an increasingly large role in the team in the future, but is in no hurry to do so.

Williams announced last month that Austrian businessman and occasional racing driver Wolff had taken a shareholder of 'between 10 and 49 per cent' in Frank Williams and Patrick Head's company.

"The fact that Frank and Patrick have not sold a stake before now indicates that when they decided to do it that it was a very well thought-out move," Wolff told the official Formula 1 website.

"Yes, it is a door opener, but for both sides. And I think it is important for all for us to think that, yes, Toto can play a role in the future development of the team. The same goes for me.

"Yes, I want to play a part in the team, and yes I want to increase my stake, but let's talk about it when we get there. I am the new kid on the block and I hope that slowly I will get a better insight into the business of Formula 1 and start to play a part in the team."

He sees his arrival as part of Williams's strategy for ensuring the team's long-term future.

"Frank is very aware of the fact that he has to lead the company into the future and supervise its transition to the next generation," Wolff said. "He started that process some time ago by putting a young management team in place with Adam Parr and Sam Michael.

"My guess is that he also wanted to make a step towards a younger generation on the shareholder side. And on top of that, selling a stake seemed suitable for him for purely economic reasons."

Wolff sees Williams as the ideal team to get involved with at this stage.

"I've been looking at the environment quite closely for a couple of years now, since I had discussions with a Formula 1 team three years ago," he said. "Without name dropping, that business case didn't seem intelligent to me or commercially viable.

"If you look at the heritage of Formula 1 and the great brands, then there are only three or four teams who have that kind of heritage.

"The second reason was that I wanted to buy into a team with a lot of know-how, with a good infrastructure and the capability of coping with the new resource restrictions agreement. Williams has been operating with a significantly smaller budget to the manufacturers for some years."

He believes that at this stage in his F1 involvement it is more logical to build up knowledge with a smaller role in a well-established team like Williams.

"I would have never invested in a new entrant and neither would I have invested in the complete buyout of another company because I think that it is too difficult a task," said Wolff. "You have to build up a deep understanding of Formula 1 to be able to run a team, and that is something that does not come overnight.

"Being an entrepreneur and buying the majority of an F1 team, you have to be very careful about your own skills and hiring the right people to run the team. You can so easily get it wrong.

"That was the reason why I've invested in Williams because it is a perfectly running outfit which has experienced very little fluctuation in the past years."

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