Williams F1 has been one of the most successful teams of all time, placing third in Grand Prix wins at 114 wins behind only McLaren with 182 and Ferrari with 238.
Williams F1 was formed by Frank Williams in 1977 with co-founder and Lead Engineer, Patrick Head. In 43 years of racing, they have won the Constructors Championship 9 times, and have 7 drivers who won the Driver’s Championship title in a Williams car.
Earlier this year, after a long streak of financial issues and poor performance on the track, Williams F1 was put up for investment or sale, depending on what the investor wanted to do.
That investor turned out to be Dorilton Capital of the US, who spent €152 million ($180.1 million US) to settle all Williams F1 debts and also acquire the team outright on August 21, 2020. The team will continue to operate under the name Williams F1 and will retain all staff and facilities in the UK.
As part of that team purchase, however, Frank Williams, team principal, and his daughter Claire Williams, deputy team principal, will both step down from their positions after the 2020 Italian Grand Prix this coming weekend. They will also be officially leaving the team, with interim management and team principal duties being picked up by others in the Williams chain of command.
Claire Williams, OBE, joined her father’s team in 2002 as a Communications Officer. With Frank William’s advancing age, she was named to the Board of Directors in 2012 as Commercial and Marketing Director, before being appointed deputy team principal in 2013.
This year, her most important contribution to Williams F1 and the sport as a whole was pushing for a more affordable and sustainable cap on spending, to bring the mid-pack and lower-end teams in line with the higher-end teams. As part of the new Concorde Agreement for Formula 1 effective 2021 to 2025, all teams have a budget cap on spending of $145 million for construction, research, development, and testing.
The only part of the agreement that does not have a budget cap is salaries, as some drivers command tens of millions of dollars per year.
Claire Williams did release a statement about her departure, stating that it was important to step aside “…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.” She went on to say that “it’s [Formula 1] also an incredibly challenging sport and I now want to see what else the world holds for me. Most importantly, I want to spend time with my family.”
The ones of us here at Supercars.net that love racing in all its forms are saddened by the departure of both Frank and Claire, however, we’re hopeful that the new Concorde Agreement and with all debts settled, Williams F1 can return to being a successful, winning team.