Following on from Peter Sauber relinquishing his role as Sauber Team Principal to Monisha Kaltenborn last year and the 2012 influx of female drivers Susie Wolff and Maria de Villota into the driver development programmes of Williams and Marussia; Williams has today announced the promotion of Claire Williams to Deputy Team Principal, under her father Sir Frank Williams.
|The succession announcement from the Williams F1 Team came as no surprise, but was welcome news nonetheless|
© Williams F1
It is not the most surprising of promotions given Franks advancing years and the need to define a clear succession path for the future of the team and, let's face it, having grown up on the knee of one of the most influential and passionate Team Owners in the sport's history, Claire is likely to have learned more about running an F1 team by osmosis than any other replacement option would learn through years of experience.
Add to that the fact that she has worked within the team since beginning in the press office in 2002 and is privy to the experience and advice from a mind which has lived and breathed motor racing since the early 1960's and you have a successor who must understand every aspect involved in running an F1 team.
However, to date Claire has worked as Head of Communications, Head of Investor Relations and will continue in her role as Director of Marketing and Communications in tandem with her new responsibilities as Deputy Team Principal.
What the new role will offer, that she does not already have, will be to experience the pressures and manage the expectations of every member of the team. It is a considerable task but one for which she has been trained since before she could talk; whether or not she or Frank intended or desired that to be the situation.
Acknowledging her early and continuing influence Claire said:
I’m truly honoured to be taking on the role of Deputy Team Principal and look forward to working alongside Frank to help run the team this season and beyond. I have grown up in the sport and have learnt the ropes from one of Formula One’s legendary Team Principals and as a result I feel well equipped for this new challenge. I understand the commitment that every person within the team gives each day to see our car out on the track and I am determined to see us back at the top. I don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead but I have the full support of the Board and a very talented Executive Committee who will be invaluable as I move forward in this role.
|Frank Williams will be happy to have Claire beside him|
© Williams F1
Frank is obviously delighted with the appointment but delivered his press statement in typical terms:
Her knowledge of the sport and passion for the team is unquestionable and I’m proud to say that during her time here she has proven herself to be one of our most valuable assets. With Claire being appointed Deputy Team Principal, I know the future of Williams is in extremely safe hands. This appointment also had Ginny’s blessing who I know would have been incredibly proud to have seen Claire taking on this position by my side.
Frank's wife, Claire's mother, Virginia Williams passed away on the 7th March last after battling cancer for two and a half years. The team had planned to announce this new appointment before the start of the 2013 season, but following the death of Lady Virginia Williams earlier this month, it was decided by Frank and Claire to delay this announcement to afford the family privacy.
Claire will take up her new position with immediate effect, will continue to be part of the Company’s Board of Directors and will be supported by and work in collaboration with the full Board.
Commenting on the events of the last month Claire Williams said;
It has been a sad month for my family and Williams as a company following the death of my mother, but as the season takes hold we must look to the future. It will be a privilege to play a part in taking the team into what I hope will be a successful next chapter.
May I take the opportunity to give Claire, her father and the team my best wishes for the future and once again pass on my condolences on the passing of Lady Virginia Williams