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Williams to move team base

Frank Williams's entire racing empire is to move to a new 28-acre headquarters, a few miles from its existing 6.5-acre facility at Didcot, near Oxford, England. The team has been at its current Basil Hill Road site since 1984, when it moved across Didcot from an old carpet warehouse where Frank Williams and Patrick Head first set up business in 1977.

The new green-field site, formerly owned by a pharmaceutical company, includes ample workshop and office space for both Williams Grand Prix Engineering and the new Williams Touring Car Engineering. The company's museum and conference center can also be expanded as the new site offers plenty of space and a 95-seat lecture theatre. The entire site is ranged around a lake.

The move, which will not take place until after the end of the 1995 season, will involve considerable disruption as the Williams half-scale wind tunnel (one of the most advanced in Britain), the team's autoclave, and a vast four post test rig (which reproduces the vibrations with which F1 cars have to contend) cannot be moved overnight. Although the existing site could have been used for further expansion, the team decided to take a bigger step to enable greater expansion in the future.

With 28 acres available the team may consider building its own test track, although such a move would almost certainly attract opposition from environmental groups, despite the fact that the new site is not far from the mainline railway from London to the west of England.

The McLaren team has been looking for a new site for some time, but a previous attempt to move the team to Lydden Hill, near Dover in Kent, was blocked because staff did not want to move. The Woking-based team is thought to be looking for a site which could be used in conjunction with the Penske Indycar team, which currently has a factory at Poole in Dorset. McLaren and Penske both have long-term agreements with Mercedes-Benz and both are sponsored by Marlboro.

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