Italian Grand Prix – Williams’ outgoing Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams says she could have stayed on, but chose to walk away from the team and the sport.
Monza marks Claire Williams’ last race weekend in charge of the Williams F1 team, before a new boss takes over for next week’s race at Mugello.
On Thursday, Williams announced a new board of directors as the Williams family opted to walk away from the sport after selling the team to private investment company Dorilton Capital. With the immediate future of the team secured financially and having signed the Concorde Agreement, Claire and her father Sir Frank have chosen to leave the sport in the rear view mirror.
Speaking on Friday, Williams said she had the option to continue in a leadership role at the team under Dorilton but chose that she wanted to leave: “There were a lot of rumours swirling around in Spa about my tenure within the team and Dorilton, I would like to make it clear, wanted me to stay. This was my decision. I felt that it was the right choice for me to step away.”
“This is obviously going to be my last race weekend but I am going to be working a few days a week over the course of the next few weeks in order to hand over in order to talk to Dorilton about the team, the inner workings of the team and the expertise that they need to come in. Obviously they’re in the business already, they’re doing their due diligence, they’re reviewing the capabilities and they are looking at what they can do in order to invest into the business and I will be helping them with that to advise them over the coming weeks.”
Claire took over the day to day running of the team almost a decade ago, as Sir Frank took a more background role while holding onto the position of Team Principal. Between the father and daughter, they have been at the helm of the team since its debut at the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix.
Having said that the time was right to walk away from the sport and become a somewhat private individual, citing a desire to spend time with her family, Williams said that she will miss the sport ‘enormously’: “I think you can probably imagine how much I will miss Formula 1 and how much the family will miss Formula 1. We have been in this sport for more than four decades and we have given it our all. I think we have all felt enormously privileged for the fact that we have had the time we have had in this sport, that we haver even been in this sport.”
“I know certainly from my perspective, I’ve always felt incredibly lucky that I was born into the Williams family, that I have grown up in this magical world that we all get to live in and work in every day; that I got to grow up around Williams and the incredible people that we have had there past and present. I will miss the people the most. It’s quite emotional for us. This has been our life for so many years. It’s what has defined us and it is who we are. But this is the start of a new chapter, not just for Williams but for our family as well.”