Williams family to step away from eponymous F1 team for the first time ever

Sir Frank and Claire Williams are expected to leave the team after the Italian Grand Prix

Sir Frank Williams, co-founder of the eponymous F1 team, and Claire Williams, current deputy team principal, are going to leave the team after the Italian Grand Prix, which means that after 43 years and 16 world championships, the British Formula 1 team will no longer be run by the family that founded it.

On 21 August 2020, Williams was acquired by a US investment company called Dorilton Capital and while some managerial changes were expected, this is still big news because the Williams family single-handedly transformed the eponymous team into one of the household names in F1, with 9 constructors' championships, 7 drivers' championships, 114 wins and 312 podiums in over 730 races.

Williams Racing was founded in Grove, Oxfordshire in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head and it has always been run by members of the Williams family, including Claire Williams, who first joined the team in an official capacity in 2002 and has served as team principal since 2013. An offer to continue working with Williams as their team principal was actually on the table but she decided it was the right time to step away, having recently signed the new Concorde Agreement.

Claire Williams said that "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 are incredibly proud of our track record and the legacy we leave behind. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly but after much reflection and as a family". Williams said she is leaving "with a heavy heart" and cited the impact of Covid as one of the deciding factors in choosing an outright sale of the team.

The upcoming Italian Grand Prix on September 6, their 738th entry, is going to be the final chapter in the book that the Williams family have written but not the end of the team. The new owners are determined to start fresh and make sure the Williams team of the future can live up to the expectations that come with the name.

Are family-owned / family-run teams still feasible in today's F1?

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Comments (23)

  • The end of an era! Thank you Williams Family for giving us some glorious years. You will be missed.

      14 days ago
  • It's a sad day.

      14 days ago
  • It's not all bad. Apparently the new owners are going to put 10s of millions into the team, to make them title contenders again.

      14 days ago
    • Yeah of course they will but can the keep the passion and family atmosphere that built the team to begin with or is it a trophy play thing for a few rich business folks?

        13 days ago
    • Hopefully Frank and Claire thoroughly vetted the new owners, insuring their “heart” is in the right place. Only time will tell but I’m holding out hope that this marks a return to the front for one of the most storied teams on the grid.

        10 days ago
  • Very sad to see Claire and Frank lose control of their team. They achieved so much and helped so many people along the way.

    But something has gone wrong, they’re not getting the chassis sorted properly, they’re uncompetitive and they don’t seem to be improving.

    I think they need a few changes behind the scenes to try and make the car competitive.

    Though it’s sad I’m sure Frank will enjoy the money he just got paid lol

      14 days ago
  • As my favourite F1 team, I pledge to have a minute of silence, good luck, it’s a sad day...

      14 days ago