It was big news when the Williams team announced they were up for sale earlier in the year but it wasn’t much of a surprise. To many long-standing fans of the sport, it marked the beginning of the end for the iconic Williams team as they remember it. Sure, the team’s track performance has been shockingly poor for a few seasons now but it was still under the control of the family it is named after. A rare feat in modern-day Formula 1 and like all good runs, it has come to an end.
Just a couple of weeks after announcing the new owners of the Williams Formula 1 team, Claire Williams announced that she will be stepping down from her position as Deputy Team Principal after the Monza GP. So will her father, founder and Team Principal Frank Williams. You can see her emotional message to the fans below:
This marks the end of the most successful, privately-owned customer team in F1. In its illustrious history spanning more than four decades, Williams managed to win more than 9 constructor’s titles and 7 driver’s championships. To get into the long list of iconic F1 drivers, past and present, who raced for Frank Williams over the years would take quite a while. The romantics of the sport would have loved to see the team return to its former glory, fighting at the front of the pack instead of being the backmarkers. But given the nature of the sport these days and the team’s ongoing financial struggles, perhaps it is Sir Frank’s and the Williams family’s well-earned retirement. It was never going to be the same for them under new ownership so it made sense to make an exit with the team’s future secured.
I doubt Sir Frank is going to take it slower anytime soon and will be involved in some manner of motorsports and fast cars. Even though the Dorilton Captial (new team owners) has stated they intend to retain the brand’s name and heritage to keep a Williams F1 team on the grid, it’s just not going to be the same anymore.
On a less sad note, this gives the team’s new owners a fresh slate to bring in new management and restructure it as they see fit. Combined with the new influx of investment, it will be interesting to see how much progress the Williams F1 team can make in the run-up to 2021.
Stay tuned and subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more updates.