Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has reportedly acquired a 5 per cent stake in Williams, the beleaguered team in which the Austrian was once a shareholder.
The information comes courtesy of veteran F1 journalist and once Williams team manager Peter Windsor, although it's unclear on what the British reporter had based his affirmation.
Williams is a publicly traded company, so it's possible that Wolff's holding was divulged in a regulatory filing. But the stake may have also resulted from the exercise of options held by Wolff since his days as a shareholder.
Williams was originally Wolff's pipeline into F1, with the Austrian previously holding a 30 per cent stake in the Grove-based company which he later sold between 2014 and 2016.
"It’s nice to see that yesterday the head of Mercedes Toto Wolff bought a five percent stake in Williams F1," Windsor wrote on Twitter.
"For the first time in a long time, the team can begin to move in the right direction."
Good to see that Mercedes' Toto Wolff yesterday bought back a five per cent shareholding in WilliamsF1. The team could be heading in the right direction for the first time in a while.. pic.twitter.com/m2tyXjAHX3
— Peter Windsor (@PeterDWindsor) June 5, 2020
The news come just days after Williams Grand Prix Holdings announced that it was seeking a buyer for its F1 operations. As a reminder, Wolff also acquired a small stake in sports car manufacturer Aston Martin following the active involvement of Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll.
Wolff's investment in Williams, if it is the result of a purchase on the open market, would obviously make him a believer in the company's future.
However, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who is helping his old friend Sir Frank Williams find an adequate buyer for his team, warned that a takeover of F1's third most successful outfit could prove challenging given the current crisis.