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Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Williams committed to F1 future

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg will be in action in a Williams car again in 2009

The Williams team have insisted that they will remain in Formula One despite the global financial crisis that led to Honda's withdrawal last week.

Williams, the largest of the sport's independent teams, said they were close to securing a full budget for 2009.

"We are unequivocally committed to F1," a spokesman told BBC Sport.

"Unlike many of our competitors who are owned by car makers, for us the consideration to stay involved is superfluous, as we only exist to race."

Williams last won a race in 2004 and are one of the few teams in F1 not either owned or part-owned by a road-car manufacturer.

They use customer engines, which they buy from Toyota.

Since Honda's announcement, motorsport boss Max Mosley warned that cost-cutting was vital to avoid losing other teams.


Over the last few days five of Formula One's top teams - BMW Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault and Toyota - have all emphasised their desire to reduce costs and continue in the sport.

There has also been speculation about Williams's future because of the difficulty of finding funding in the current global financial crisis.

But the spokesman said the team were in better shape this year than they had been ahead of the previous two seasons.

"We have been involved in F1 for three decades, through conducive and adverse economic circumstances alike, and we have every intention of racing for at least another 30 years," he said.

"We have 90% of our operating budget in place for next season.

"The balance of our funding for next season is under active discussion with existing sponsors, and as ever, despite difficult market conditions, we are in dialogue with a number of new prospective sponsors.

"There is still scope for new business as long as we continue to offer value for money and we can demonstrate that we can positively influence our sponsors' bottom line.

There is the scope for teams to put three cars on the grid and if we have eight teams with three cars, that's 24 cars which is four more than we have had this year

Williams CEO Adam Parr

"Our budget is also being assisted by including a number of contracts written in [US] dollars and although the exchange rate is transient, our dollar receivables are making a positive contribution to our projected finances for next year.

"With all of these factors, there is every possibility that we will be better funded in 2009 than 2008."

Adam Parr, Williams's chief executive, told the Guardian that he could envisage a time when F1 comprised eight teams, each with three cars on the grid.

"There is the scope for teams to put three cars on the grid and if we have eight teams with three cars, that's 24 cars which is four more than we have had this year," he said.

"Even if we went to seven teams, we'd have 21 cars. It is far better to have seven or eight constructors than seven or eight constructors and three or four customer teams.

"Williams would rather compete on equal terms with constructors and take our chances than mess around with customer teams."

Williams were a dominant force in F1 throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but has slipped from competitiveness in the last few years.

They have confirmed German Nico Rosberg and Japanese Kazuki Nakajima as their drivers for next season, although there has been speculation linking the team with Honda's Jenson Button since his team dropped out.

Toro Rosso have also been reported to have made an approach to Button.

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see also
Button hopeful over Honda future
08 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Big teams pledge to remain in F1
06 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Honda boss upbeat over team sale
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Others may follow Honda - Mosley
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Stoddart insists F1 will survive
06 Dec 08 |  Formula One

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