Claire Williams has revealed that she turned down an offer from the team’s new owners to remain in her position as deputy team principal.
The Williams Formula 1 team was sold to Dorilton Capital last month, but this week it was announced that the Williams family will step away from the sport, with Claire Williams quitting her role after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Speaking on Friday at Monza, Williams denied reports she had been forced out by the new owners, revealing she had actually been asked to stay, but felt the time was right to depart and begin a new journey.
“There were a lot of rumours swirling around in Spa about my tenure within the team,” said Williams. “Dorilton, I’d like to make it clear, wanted me to stay. This was my decision. I felt that it was the right choice for me to step away.
“This is obviously going to be my last race weekend but I am going to be working a few days a week over the course of the next few weeks in order to hand over, in order to talk to Dorilton about the team and the inner workings of the team and the expertise that they need to come in.
“Obviously they’re in the business already, they’re doing their due diligence, they’re reviewing the capabilities and they’re looking at what they can do in order to invest into the business. And I will be helping them with that to advise that over the coming weeks.”
On Thursday the new board of directors was confirmed, with James Matthews – husband of Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge – joining Dorilton’s Matthew Savage and Darren Fultz.
The paddock reacted to the news on Thursday and Friday with tributes pouring in for Claire and her father, Sir Frank, who started the team back in 1977 alongside Sir Patrick Head.
“I would just like to say an enormous thank you for all the support that we have received since making the announcement. I think we felt quite overwhelmed by it.
“Williams has obviously contributed, I feel a huge amount, to Formula 1. Certainly the legacy that Frank and Patrick [Head] leave behind, I think it’s nothing short of extraordinary what they have managed to achieve.
“But not just the support that we’ve received in the paddock that we are enormously grateful for, but also the support that we’ve received from our fans. We have some of the best fans out there and yesterday they were contacting us in their thousands and it was lovely to see. And we thank them enormously for all of their support.”