Emo­tional farewell for Wil­liams fam­ily at end of For­mula One era

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Italian Grand Prix - By Philip Dun­can

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)

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