Following the Italian Grand Prix, one of the greatest families exited the F1 world – the Williams. The company was acquired by Dorilton Capital in a majority stake buyout. Following that, Claire Williams stepped down from her role as Deputy Team Principal. Winning the Constructors’ Championship 9 times, Williams was a tremendous force in the 80s and 90s. But Claire Williams believes that there was one more person who was driving this success – her mother, Virginia Williams.
In an interview with the Telegraph, she spoke about her influence on the racing team, “My mother was incredibly resolute, very stiff upper lip, got on with things. She put the money in behind the scenes in the 70s to keep Dad going. Equally, she was the one who rescued my dad from his hideous car accident. If it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t be alive. And we wouldn’t have the championships we won after 1986.”
Despite the successes of the team, it has not been an easy road for Claire Williams to tread on. For one, she was criticized at every step of the way, because the buck effectively stopped at her. And for another, protecting a traditional family legacy is an enormous responsibility.
Williams gradually wilted from a title winner to contender to a midfield team and finally, at present, the bottom of the grid. This last decade saw Williams win just 1 race and 12 podium finishes in the 198 races they have competed in. A stark distance away from the time they won two back-to-back championships in the 1990s.
This season has been, as expected, quite disastrous for the family. They occupy the wooden spoon in the Constructors’ Standings as of now. Neither driver, Nicholas Latifi nor George Russell, has won the team any points so far. The latter did, however, come close to finishing 9th at Mugello.
But eventually, Sebastian Vettel‘s Ferrari SF1000 was just about enough to oust Russell from the points. Led by Simon Roberts as the Acting Team Principal, the team will now look at the 2022 regulations as their best shot to launch an upward trajectory. And far away in the distance, Claire Williams and her family will be cheering their team on.