Mercedes boss Toto Wolff further reduces role in Williams F1 team

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has reduced his Williams Formula 1 team shareholding to just five per cent, after agreeing to sell more shares to American businessman Brad Hollinger

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff further reduces role in Williams F1 team

Wolff has been reducing his involvement in Williams after taking over the helm at Mercedes, and last year sold a five per cent stake of his original 15 per cent shareholding to Hollinger, who is a healthcare entrepreneur.

Further shares have exchanged hands, with Hollinger now holding 10 per cent. Wolff's involvement is reduced to just half that.

DIETER RENCKEN profiles Brad Hollinger

Despite his role at Mercedes, Wolff said that he and his bosses were happy that his investment level at Williams was low enough to not be considered a conflict of interest.

"When I transitioned from Williams to Mercedes, there was a path that we agreed with Mercedes that was to reduce the shareholding in Williams over time," explained Wolff.

"We agreed on a structured approach, not selling the shares to anybody but finding somebody who is of value for the family and the team.

There would have been opportunities in-between, and finally Brad is the perfect guy.

"I am just short of five per cent which is what I agreed with Daimler to be the target and considered as a financial investment.

"That is the current status and I have no plans to change it. As a financial investment I very much like the company."

Hollinger's stake means he is now the second-highest shareholder in the team - behind Frank Williams, who own 52 per cent.

Patrick Head owns approximately nine per cent, with Wolff owning five per cent. The remainder is on the stock market or in employee schemes.

F1 PROSPECT A LURE

Hollinger has been a lifelong F1 fan and believes that it was a no-brainer to expand his involvement at Williams because he feels the sport has tremendous room to grow.

"It really is a combination of me being a huge enthusiast of F1, but also I'm a businessman and I am never in business not to make money," he said.

"I think that there is a huge opportunity in F1, which I think is on cusp of a major explosion.

"The revenue has continued increasing - and that is not withstanding that it has not tapped significantly into the whole social media element in terms of streaming information out to the masses. I think that is a huge opportunity.

"Williams has the heritage, the brand, and the name that is nearly unparalleled in F1 because Frank was a pioneer in the industry. I think there is a great deal of passion and nostalgia for the organisation."

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