There is a lovely story kicking around at the moment that suggests that Ross Brawn is going to buy Toto Wolff’s shares in Williams F1 and thus become a partner in the Grove team. This would be very convenient for all concerned: it would allow Wolff to have the management he wants at Mercedes GP Petronas and would give Brawn a neat way out of the team and then a new challenge for the future.
He would be in the same sort of position as that enjoyed by Patrick Head, who ran the technical side of Williams from 1977 until 2004, when he handed over to Sam Michael. Ironically, the 2004 season was the last in which the team won a race before Pastor Maldonado’s surprising victory in Spain in 2012.
The problem with the story is that Brawn would need to find – and then be willing to part with – no less than £24 million, if he wants to buy Wolff’s shares at the current market rate. Wolff is not going to sell cheap because he needs the money to buy shares in the Mercedes operation.
Brawn is a very wealthy man, but no one makes a £24 million investment unless they are certain that it will be a good idea. Such a transaction would buy him just 16.3 per cent of the team, while Sir Frank Williams would remain the dominant shareholder with more than 50 per cent of the equity.