GROVE, England — Williams Racing said Thursday that Claire Williams is stepping down as deputy principal and will be leaving the F1 team with father Frank after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The move follows the recent change in ownership to American-based investment firm Dorilton Capital, and means that the famed Formula One family will cut its ties to the team after 43 years and nearly 750 races.
“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,” Williams said in a statement. “With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport.”
A message from Claire, to our fans.#WeAreWilliams 💙 pic.twitter.com/6pKb7t2tkH
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 3, 2020
The team was co-founded by Frank Williams, her father, and won seven drivers’ championships and nine constructors’ titles since entering the sport in 1977. However, the last of those came with Jacques Villeneuve behind the wheel in 1997.
The British-based team finished rock bottom in the constructors’ standings in the past two seasons, and in 2019 scored only one point from Robert Kubica’s 10th-place finish.
Storied names have driven for the team, including multiple world champions Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. British world champions Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill helped the team become hugely popular with home fans.
Williams has won 114 races, taken 128 pole positions and is the third-longest standing team in the history of the series.
Here’s the release from Williams Racing F1 on Frank and Claire Williams leaving F1:
This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza will mark the final race for the Williams family in Formula One. After 43 years and 739 Grands Prix, the family is set to leave the sport following the recent change in ownership to Dorilton Capital.
Sir Frank and Claire have ensured the family have remained at the helm of the team since the first race on 8th May 1977 at the Circuito de Jarama in Spain. The team has been through many periods of triumph and adversity but has always navigated them as a family. Williams has won 114 Grands Prix, taken 128 pole positions and secured 133 fastest laps, culminating in nine Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ World Championships. It is the third longest-standing team in the history of the sport and one of the most successful.
The recent conclusion of the Strategic Review process and consequent sale of Williams Grand Prix Engineering to U.S.-based investment firm, Dorilton Capital ensures the long-term future of the Williams Formula One team and provides a timely point at which the Williams family have chosen to exit the sport.
Claire Williams OBE, Deputy Team Principal: “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.
“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. 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.
“On behalf of Frank and the Williams family, I would like to say how incredibly grateful and humbled we are for the support we have enjoyed over the years, from our friends in the paddock to the many fans around the world. But mostly, we would like to thank our team. People who have worked at Williams in the past and present. They are the true warriors of this team and have made it what it is and we wish them well. Formula One has been our life for so long and now it’s time for a new chapter in our lives to begin.”
Matthew Savage, Chairman of Dorilton Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, said: “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. 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.”