After forty years’ service in the Williams F1 team, father and daughter duo Frank Williams and Claire Williams will be stepping down. The move follows a period of considerable financial difficulty, which has prompted one of the motorsport’s biggest names to sell up. After being sold to US investment group Dorilton Capital in August, the Williams family members are scheduled to formally leave after the Italian Grand Prix. Founded in 1977 by Frank Williams, Williams Racing has been one of Formula One’s longest-running teams. With drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill fronting the team, it has also been one of the motorsport’s most successful.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams has discussed the move at length. Recently, she 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.”
After entering Formula One during the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix, the Williams Racing team has scored numerous successes. Between 1980 and 1997, Williams Racing won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship seven times. In that period, Williams drivers Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve took the titles. However, with their last Grand Prix win dating back to 2012, and recent poor performances in the championships, Williams Racing has faced considerable financial turmoil. Many stars from the world of F1 have paid tribute to the team’s illustrious past.