Williams chairman Adam Parr insists his team's idea of a flotation on the stock market is not because it wants to raise immediate funds for the company.
Although Williams lost a number of sponsors at the end of last year, Parr said on Friday that the outfit has been profitable in the last few years and is therefore not chasing an injection of cash. He confirmed the team already secured its full budget for 2011, partly thanks to a recent deal with Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, which has come on board following the signing of Pastor Maldonado as the team's second driver.
"It's very important to state that we are not, as a company, seeking to raise funds," Parr said. "This would not, if it goes ahead, involve any new equity or fund-raising. The company is in good financial health.
"I suppose a question you might ask is, 'Can you float a company like this in an industry like ours?' Perhaps it may please you to know that not only do we think that we could do that, but we've always run the company on sound financial principles.
"We have never had the luxury of a shareholder wanting to pump money in and therefore we have had to run within our means. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, we recorded a profit. We will do the same for 2010 and I am pleased to say that our budget for 2011 is fully contracted. Like other teams, we have cut our costs. We have had to trim a few people, but we will have something like 470 in our F1 business in 2011 and then on top of that we have our new businesses in Williams Hybrid Power and Qatar.
"So, overall, we are in good financial health. We have made profits for the past three years and we believe that's a very sound basis should we intend to proceed with this."
Although stock market flotations are often motivated by the desire to raise capital in the short term, Parr says that his team's primary focus is on securing its long-term stability.
"We have to think about the long-term future of the team," he said. "You can't do it overnight and you can't do it in a rush. Frank [Williams], Patrick [Head] and Toto [Wolff]'s view is that it is better to plan now, to prepare for the future. If we were to go to the market, it would create a basis for future transactions so I think it's about succession-planning and future-proofing."
Parr said that the team had not given a green light to flotation plans yet, and remained in talks with the parties that could push the process through if it did decide to go ahead.
"We are being properly advised," he said. "Needless to say, we wouldn't be doing this if we hadn't done a lot of preparation on this. Yes, we have proper advisors. We are not in a position yet to announce any details. This is not what they call a statement of intention to float.
"We are simply making this clear so that we can engage with people more effectively. Obviously, there is a limit to how much you can do when everything has to be utterly confidential."