What's been in the air for a while at Williams Racing is just about to happen: deputy team principal Claire Williams will step down from her role after this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. After 50 years in the circus that is Formula 1, the Williams family is calling it quits.
Following two failed ventures ran between 1969 and 1976, Sir Frank Williams founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited in 1977. Currently known as Williams Racing, the team has achieved nine Constructors' Championships in 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, and seven Drivers' in 1980, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, giving Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve an FW-car to the top.
While Sir Frank Williams remained team principal for over fifty years, the task of running the team landed on her daughter Claire's table in 2013. Powered by Mercedes-Benz engines since 2014, Williams went from 3rd to 5th to 10th until 2020, facing escalating financial challenges that led to the complete sale of the team and its assets by the Williams family last year.
With the recent takeover of American Dorilton Capital, it's going to be an end of an era this weekend in Italy. Claire Williams and the entire team are very grateful to their loyal fans:
Williams is a team with not one, but two wind tunnels at its headquarters, as well as an engineering division known as Williams Advanced Engineering. Williams Grand Prix Holdings sold its majority stake in WAE to EMK Capital last December, while the company was still a technical partner of Lotus Cars for its 1972-horsepower Evija hyper-EV. Williams’ role in the project was to develop a high-performance battery pack for the car, yet Lotus has since terminated their contract blaming delivery issues that they say would have jeopardized the Evija's launch.
Now, Williams Advanced Engineering is suing Lotus mostly for outstanding invoices that have gone unpaid since April 2020.
As for the F1 team, while Dorilton Capital will continue racing under the Williams name, the investment firm also wanted to keep Claire Williams at the helm. However, the Deputy Team Principal decided to step away in order to spend more time with her loved ones, as she explained on social media.
"I have been enormously privileged to have grown up in this team and in the wonderful world that is Formula 1. I have loved every minute and will be forever grateful for the opportunities it has given me. But it’s 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."
A fresh start for her, and possibly for Williams Racing thanks to the cash injection coming from America.