The Williams family to quit Formula One after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, as Sir Frank retires after 50 action-packed years in the paddock and title wins for drivers including Mansell, Prost and Hill
- Sir Frank Williams and de facto team boss Claire will step away from Williams
- The Williams family have controlled the team since its inception in 1977
- Recent financial struggles have seen sale to US investment firm Dorilton Capital
- Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix will be the last for the Williams family at the team
Sir Frank Williams will no longer be involved in Formula One after it was announced that one of the sport’s best-known families are stepping aside.
Claire Williams, who has acted as the de facto boss of the British team since 2013, revealed she will be departing her role as deputy team principal.
Williams, winners of 16 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships, were sold last month to US investment firm Dorilton Capital.
Sir Frank Williams will step away from his Williams team after more than 40 years in the sport
De-facto team boss Claire Williams will leave the team as deputy team principal alongside her father following this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza
The Williams name will leave the sport following this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. The identity of the team’s replacements are yet to be confirmed.
Claire Williams said: ‘With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport.
‘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.
Williams Racing have been a family-run team since their founding in 1977 but have fallen on hard times in recent years and were recently sold to US investment firm Dorilton Capital
‘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.
‘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.’
Williams’s heyday came in the 1980s and 1990s when Sir Frank technical director Patrick Head helped build one of the biggest and successful teams in the Formula One paddock
Sir Frank Williams, 78, founded the team in 1977, while his daughter Claire, 44, was placed in charge of its day-to-day running seven years ago.
Williams enjoyed a remarkable rise in the sport, with the team winning the world championship with Alan Jones in 1980 as a team led by Sir Frank and his technical director Patrick Head started to gain prominence in the sport.
By 1986, he had arguably the best team on the grid with heavyweights Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet driving for him, even if their rivalry cost them the world championship.
Despite a car accident in the same year that saw him wheelchair bound, Williams continued to run the team from the front and Williams’ dominance continued in 1987 when Piquet strolled to title success.
Williams enjoyed great success in the 1980s and 1990s but have won just one race in the last 16 years.
They have finished bottom of the constructors’ championship for the past two seasons, and are without a point in 2020.
The 1990s brought world championships at Williams for British duo Nigel Mansell (left) in 1992 and Damon Hill (right) in 1996. They are pictured before the 1994 Australian Grand Prix
But Williams have fallen on hard times in recent years and have only won one race since 2004, with Pastor Maldonado tasting a rare victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix (above)
Claire Williams added: ‘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.’