Formula 1's unexpectedly protracted off-season has been painful for many of the teams, but for Williams in particular the resumption of racing couldn't come soon enough. Declining performance in recent years - and the attendant shrinkage of its prize fund share - meant the team was already under considerable financial pressure when the payments from title sponsor ROKiT abruptly ceased in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Williams didn't get to become the second most successful F1 team of all time in terms of championship wins by being soft, cuddly, or in any way a pushover. So, its response was quintessentially hard-nosed and unsentimental: it publicly gave ROKiT the rocket and came out fighting. Sir Frank Williams might have moved aside from the day-to-day management of affairs, but the business that bears his name also proudly carries his pugnaciously indefatigable stamp.
To that end the Williams cars rolled out of the garages for round one in Austria with an entirely new livery, banishing the erstwhile sponsor to the archives. But besides applying a new coat of paint, the team has also had to think the previously unthinkable: a potential sale of part or all of the business.