Sir Frank Williams and daughter Claire will step down from their roles with the Williams Formula One team following the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
The team was formed by both Frank Williams and Patrick Head in 1977 and have enjoyed remarkable success over the years, with nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championships between 1980 and 1997.
— Andrew Brightman (@BGTF_Andrew) September 3, 2020
However, success in recent years has been sparse, with their last win in 2012 and third place finishes in the constructors tally in 2014 and 2015.
Now they are in the process of their worst seasons in F1, finishing last in the drivers’ championship the past two years and are on course to do so again this year.
Claire Williams took over from her father from day-to-day operations as team principal in 2013 and after eight years, was hoping to be in the role for a little longer.
“It is with heavy heart that I am stepping away from my role with the team,” she said.
“I had hoped to continue my tenure long into the future and to preserve the Williams family’s legacy into the next generation.”
A rebound plan was actioned last year, including a restructuring of departments, with the results showing more positive signs, with the team able to fight with rivals.
However, to take the next step, the Williams family realised they needed a significant investment, which led to the sale of a private American investment firm.
Williams F1 is not Williams F1 anymore.
— Taki Inoue (@takiinoue) September 3, 2020
“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 our team to Dorilton Capital,” she said.
“My family has always put our racing team and our people first and this was absolutely the right decision.”
Williams said that despite backing from Dorilton to continue her day-to-day role, the time was right to step away.
“With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport,”
“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.
“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.”