Williams denies Latifi-shaped budget black hole

Williams has played down concerns about financial strife in the wake of Nicholas Latifi’s departure from Formula 1.

After three disappointing years at Williams, Canadian Latifi was left without a seat for 2023.

But, due to his wealthy father Michael, he has taken a lot of team funding with him, including Lavazzi and Sofina.

There had been rumours a big new deal with Gulf Oil would plug those gaps, but observers were ultimately surprised with the low-profile nature of the on-car branding.

Latifi’s replacement Logan Sargeant, a rookie, has brought a few minor American sponsors with him, but fans worry that the budget has actually gotten even smaller at the back-of-the-grid team.

“There is a perception of revenue loss due to recent changes,” said team commercial director James Bower. “But the reality is different.”

He told the Dutch publication Formule 1 that more sponsor deals will be completed within 2023.

“We are more robust than in recent years,” Bower insists, emphasising that Williams’ commercial plan is “ambitious and aggressive”.

“It is very exciting to add Gulf to our portfolio of partners,” he added.

Bower also has high hopes that Sargeant’s arrival in F1 will inspire the interest of American sponsors.

“We invest in fan activities around the races in the United States,” he said. “When those things come together, it helps us commercially.”

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