Williams’ Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams is to leave the team after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix as the Williams family step aside from the business which has been in their name since 1977, until being brought out by Dorilton Capital last month.
Having decided with “a heavy heart…” to stand down from her role, Claire spoke of her desire to “preserve the Williams family’s legacy into the next generation” before conceding that various factors which led to the team being sold to Dorilton Capital last month.
Speaking on her decision to depart Williams, Claire also stated that her exit is to allow for a ‘fresh start’, saying; “I have taken the decision to step away from the team in order to allow Dorilton a fresh start as the new owners. It has not been an easy decision but it’s one I believe to be right for all involved.”
Claire also had a message for her fellow Williams colleagues in which she described them as “family, they have kept me motivated during the difficult times and it is them who I will miss the most.”
On the decision for the whole family to step away from the team, Claire said; “With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport.”
“As a family, we have always prioritised Williams. We have demonstrated that by our recent actions with the Strategic Review process and we believe now is the right time to hand over the reins and give the new owners the opportunity to take the team into the future.
“We have been in this sport for more than four decades. We are incredibly proud of our track record and the legacy we leave behind. We have always been in it for the love of it, for the pure pleasure of going motor racing, so this is not a decision that we have taken lightly but after much reflection and as a family.”
Chairman of Dorilton Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, Matthew Savage paid tribute to Claire and the rest of her family, saying; “We fully respect the very tough decision of Claire and the Williams family to step away from the team and the business after securing new resources for its future.”
Williams was founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head and has since gone on to produce seven world champions and clinch nine constructor titles, although the last of both successes came in 1997 when Jacques Villeneuve beat Michael Schumacher to the crown in controversial circumstances, which saw Schumacher disqualified from the championship for deliberately colliding with Villeneuve in the final race at Jerez that season.
The team has also won 114 Grands Prix and taken 128 pole positions plus 133 fastest laps in 738 races since making their debut in the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix, with Patrick Neve in a March-Ford which finished 12th and four laps down on race winner, Mario Andretti.