Emotional farewell for Williams family at end of Formula One era
An emotional Claire Williams paid tribute to her father, Sir Frank, yesterday, as a historic chapter in British sport closed in Monza.
Sir Frank Williams, 78, who founded the constructor in 1977, and Claire, who assumed the dayto-day running of the team seven years ago, are departing Formula One following the family’s 739th and concluding race.
Williams are the third-most successful team in the sport’s history, behind only Ferrari and McLaren.
They have won 114 times and have 16 combined drivers’ and teams’ titles. But the family will play no further part in its F1 operation after selling up to US investment firm Dorilton Capital.
“Frank has been in Formula One a whole lot longer than most people in this paddock,” said Claire, 44. “It is extraordinary what my dad has done. I am so proud of him. I have been inspired by him.
“This sport has given our family so much and we will be eternally grateful. We have had a wonderful life thanks to Formula One.
“We have felt enormously privileged to be in this sport and my dad leaves an incredible legacy. We will always remember that and always be proud of that.”
Claire waved her drivers, the Briton George Russell and Canadian Nicholas Latifi, out of their respective garages ahead of the race.
But there would be no fairy-tale ending, with both cars outside of the points. Latifi finished 11th, three places ahead of Russell.
Despite great success in the 1980s and 1990s – producing Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell and championship for the past two seasons, and are without a point in 2020.
“I would like to take the opportunity to say to Frank and Claire: thank you from me and the whole team,” Russell said. “We’ll miss you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“It’s the end of an era; a privilege to be a part of it. What Claire and Frank have done for the team is extraordinary and for the people who work for the team. They’ve always had the people at the bottom of their hearts.
“It’s a real shame [to miss out on points]. The car was feeling really good, we were just very slow on the straights. I was much quicker than the guys around me, and every time I overtook them on the straight they just repassed me.”
Damon Hill as world champions – Williams have won just one race in the past 16 years. They have finished bottom of the constructors’
End of an era: George Russell in action during the final race for Claire Williams (left)