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Williams family parts company with team

NEWS STORY
03/09/2020

It has been announced that this weekend's Italian Grand Prix 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 US-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.

"With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport," said Claire Williams. "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."

"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," said Matthew Savage, Chairman of Dorilton Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering. "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."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monza, here.

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1. Posted by Toado, 05/09/2020 18:40

"Very sad to see Frank hang up his boots, he has been a real stalwart of F1 as long as I can remember. I first met him and Patrick Head in 1977 when they lent us, Hesketh, some gear ratios at the French GP, imagine ... We were fellow members of the "have no chance" club at the back of the grid. I always liked the team and its ethos and when 20 years later we ended up sponsoring them half way through the 1997 season, that family feeling was just as prominent. At the Brazilian GP, I was so excited because for the first time in 20 years in and out of the sport I had an actual chance of being involved with a winning car. I behaved like a school kid all day knowing we had a real chance, and just plain got in the way until politely told from on high to go and lie down somewhere dark. We won, I don't remember much about it but after the kerfuffle I was summoned to go and see Frank, I felt like a naughty schoolboy going into the box and having to go over to be told off by Frank who was hanging from the ceiling in his harness. So, he's flying from the ceiling like some crazy angel and I am looking up at him braced for the "we are serious here" lecture ... Frank is extremely soft spoken, so I had to lean in for my ticking off. Williams were an very serious outfit by then, a far cry from Hesketh and how we used to behave. But instead of my lecture he reminds me of that day in Dijon, he tells me what his first win was like for him, he ticks off the times cars I was involved with got close, he bloody knows. And he has someone give me a huge board of the Interlagos circuit which every single team member has signed. Only then did he mention it isn't the done thing to cry on his drivers if they win ... "

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2. Posted by Obsidian, 04/09/2020 2:24

"I hate so say it, but once he put Claire in charge ..... it was over. Anyone trying to argue need only look at pre-Claire vs. post-Claire."

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3. Posted by Egalitarian, 03/09/2020 23:23

"@ChickenFarmer - I agree 100% with what you say, but I find it all rather frustrating that we all now have to be hyper-sensitive about what we say lest we upset another in the outrage industry. Apologies if that was a bit off topic."

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4. Posted by Batman, 03/09/2020 18:40

"I really fear by the continuity of the name «Williams» in the grid. I'm not so optimistic as Claire, I'm afraid."

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5. Posted by Barslug, 03/09/2020 17:13

"There is no denying the fact that the team nosedived the second Claire took the reigns. Hopefully with someone else at the helm Williams can return to winning. "

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6. Posted by Rock Doc, 03/09/2020 17:12

"Sad day. This was my local team. I remember as a kid one of the Air Saudi cars being displayed out a school fete in Chilton in the late 70's, Didcot was just a couple of miles down the road.

Really the change should have happened a few years ago. Seeing the names Williams propping up the order at the bottom each week has not been a welcome sight.

Frank and Pat were the real genius's of the team and it prospered under them. Those are the memory years that will be remembered."

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7. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 03/09/2020 16:13

"I'll miss Sir Frank. Clair, less so. He was a racer. When he transitioned control to his marketer daughter I knew it was the beginning of the end. Same reason McLaren has struggled. For all of Ron Dennis's faults, he was a racer, and knew what was needed to win. Sir Frank was the same. It has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with having someone that is not a true racer in charge. A woman who is a racer at heart could lead a team to consistent championship glory too. A marketer as team principal, of either gender, will spell disaster."

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8. Posted by Jezzer, 03/09/2020 14:39

"Yet another great team gone. "

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9. Posted by Greg, 03/09/2020 13:49

"Tis indeed a sad day. End of an era. "

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10. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 03/09/2020 13:06

"Will they be able hang out in the paddock next season?"

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11. Posted by Nortim, 03/09/2020 11:43

"Oh man, it's really an end...."

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