Williams reported an increase in revenue during 2017 after reaching a deal with Mercedes to release Valtteri Bottas to the team.

The company’s F1 revenues rose from £116.7 million in 2016 to £125.6 million last year. Much of the difference is believed to be accounted for by the income gained from releasing Bottas from his contract, less the cost of re-hiring Felipe Massa for a one-off return season.

The team had Bottas under contract to race for them in 2017. However they reached a deal with Mercedes allowing him to join the team in place of Nico Rosberg, who retired suddenly at the end of 2016.

Williams CEO Mike O’Driscoll said last year the team’s improved financial performance between the two years was due to “a one-off non-recurring item which we had to recognise in the first half of 2017.”

Revenues from other areas of the business fell to £1.1 million last year having been £13.8 million in 2016, when the team sold several of its old F1 cars.

O’Driscoll said the results “gave us confidence to continue investing in our facility and technical capabilities.”

“Our Formula One team maintained fifth place position in the FIA constructors’ championship for the second successive year.

“Williams Martini Racing was the only team, outside of the top three, to reach the podium in 2017, which was achieved by Lance Stroll at the Azerbaijan GP. This illustrates the large gap in competitive expenditure between the leading teams and the rest of the grid.

“We are hopeful that Liberty Media’s long-term vision for the future of the sport can deliver a more level playing field, on which all teams can compete more fairly. In the meantime, we are intensely focused on improving our own performance, following a tough start to this season’s campaign.”

Williams told RaceFans this month it will have to close if Liberty Media’s plans to reform F1’s financial structure are not realised. Its title sponsor Martini will leave the team at the end of this year.

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