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Formula 1

Williams family to leave team and F1 after Italian GP

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

The Williams family will leave Formula 1 after the Italian Grand Prix, with Frank and Claire Williams stepping down from their leadership roles to give the team’s new owners a “fresh start”.

Williams was recently acquired by Dorilton Capital, ending the team’s long era as a family-owned entity since Frank founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977.

Dorilton has pledged to continue racing under the Williams brand and has no plans to relocate from its long-standing Grove base.

But this weekend’s Monza race will be the final grand prix with the Williams family at the helm.

Williams has announced the departure of Claire as deputy team principal following the Italian GP but also said it will “mark the final race for the family”, which indicates Frank will not remain in his leadership role either.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am stepping away from my role with the team,” said Claire Williams, who last week at the Belgian GP had said it was “business as usual” while Dorilton conducted an internal review.

“I had hoped to continue my tenure long into the future and to preserve the Williams family’s legacy into the next generation.

“However, our need to find inward investment earlier this year due to a number of factors, many of which were outside of our control, resulted in the sale of the team to Dorilton Capital.

“My family has always put our racing team and our people first and this was absolutely the right decision.

“I know in them we have found the right people to take Williams back to the front of the grid while also preserving the Williams legacy.

“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 Williams Frank Williams F1 2020

Williams became deputy team boss in 2013, assuming day-to-day control of the team as her father Frank retained a symbolic team principal role.

Claire Williams indicated that Dorilton Capital had encouraged the family to stay on.

“We are greatly appreciative of Dorilton’s encouragement to continue, but in them we know the team will be in good hands and the Williams name will live on,” she added.

“This may be the end of an era for Williams as a family-run team, but it is the beginning of a new era for Williams Racing and we wish them much success in the future.”

Claire Williams’s final major act as deputy team principal was committing to the new Concorde Agreement that will reward smaller teams more fairly financially and, combined with new technical rules and a budget cap, is hoped to help revive the champion’s teams fortune.

Dorilton has made no mention of what the succession plan is for the team.

Chairman Matthew Savage, who has assumed the same role at Williams, simply paid tribute to the family.

“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,” said Savage.

“Claire’s achievement in sustaining Williams Racing’s heritage, relevance and commitment to innovation in a difficult environment since taking charge in 2013 has been nothing short of monumental.

“She has also been hugely instrumental in shaping a more level technical and financial playing field for F1, which will help to ensure the team’s return to the front of the grid in seasons to come.

“We are proud to carry the Williams name into the next exciting phase for the sport and we thank Sir Frank, Claire and the Williams family for the opportunity to be part of this great British brand.”

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