Frank Williams steps down from board at Williams Grand Prix

2012 F1 season

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Frank Williams

Williams founder Sir Frank Williams will step down from the board at his team at the end of the month.

His daughter Claire Williams will join the board on April 1st, taking over from Dominic Reilly as director of marketing and communications.

Frank Williams will remain the team principal of the F1 operation. He said: “This is an opportune moment, also, for me to consider my own role in the team. I turn 70 in April and I have decided to signal the next stage in the gradual but inevitable process of handing over the reins to the next generation by stepping down from the Board at the end of this month.

“This is not as dramatic a move as it may appear: I shall continue to work full-time as Team Principal and I shall continue to attend all Board meetings as observer. I also remain the majority shareholder of Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC.

“Nonetheless, I shall be looking to Claire to represent the Williams family on the Board and I know that she will work tirelessly alongside Adam [Parr] to make the Group and the team just as successful as we can be.”

He added: “It is no secret that Claire is my daughter but I am proud to say that she has fought hard to earn this appointment and of all the battles she has had to fight, the prejudices of her father were not the least challenging.”

Williams chairman Adam Parr said: “The board concluded that Claire’s appointment would further strengthen its quality, diversity and effectiveness.

“I would also like to join Frank in expressing sincere thanks to Dominic Reilly for eight years’ of dedicated service to Williams, during which he has been highly successful in acquiring and working with our partners. Dominic plans to set up a new venture, with the support of Williams, and we wish him great success.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Frank Williams steps down from board at Williams Grand Prix”

  1. Good luck to the Williamses – Frank and Claire both. There was always going to be a point where Frank started handing over the reins and I suppose now is as good a time as any to begin that process. He’s contributed a lot over the years and by not rushing things, hopefully he can impart the best of his expertise and wisdom to the members of the board who will develop Williams for the next generation.

    Also, congratulations to Claire for quietly and unobtrusively working her way up to such an important position.

  2. It was always inevitable that this process would start, but its still kind of sad.

  3. Time waits for no man. We all knew this day will come. Still it must be hard to hand over one’s very personal creation, even if your successor is your child. Good luck for Claire and many thanks to Frank.

  4. Oh dear.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    2nd March 2012, 13:06

    It’s a critical moment for Williams (Team) as they are right now at the bottom of their history… would be seen differently if Frank steps down with a title or at least with some good midfield results… but now it’s not only the view of a respected person stepping down, but of the team as a sports challenger going down as well, let’s see if Claire, Parr and all the others can go up, … I mean, it’s almost impossible to keep falling is it?

  6. Frank I think, in the future, will be remembered as one of the great legends of the sport. And rightly so.

    1. Agree completely.

    2. Definitely, can’t think of any other person that has officially associated themselves with a Team or Manufacturer in F1 for as long as Frank has with Williams. One word to summarize this: Dedication!

  7. As good a time as any. They had a pretty dreadful season last year but things should be on the up, considering the success of their Hybrid Power Division. Plus, with Head having pretty much retired it doesn’t make sense to make major changes to the company over two different time periods.

    1. Yes, I agree.
      It had to happen one day or another, but it doesn’t mean it’s less sad. Williams is one of the people currently in F1 who I respect the most.

      1. @Fixy Undoubtedly. Living legend! I’m glad he’s remaining as team principal.

  8. glad to see your still in f1. when u finally do leave, hopefully in decades to come, you will be ready missed.
    hope Williams have a good season.

  9. About time, frankly. Even though i have tremendous respect for Frank and think he’s a great bloke, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the more frail he becomes the further Williams sinks down the constructor’s table. Time for this once great team to be led by someone capable of handling the day-to-day stresses of F1 team leadership.

    1. I think it’s always good to have new blood at some point. But although I do see the correlation between Frank’s age and his team’s performance, I think the problems Williams faces are about the design team. And there have been a lot of changes there recently, so I hope they can turn it around.

  10. Although it’s sad to see the process of Franks withdrawel beginning, it does seem to be perfectly timed with all of the other restructuring that has been done at Williams. Frank has always been a hero of mine, he has overcome adversity both professionally and personally, and is a real example of what a “Never say die” attitude can acheive. But I think he and Patrick Head realised that the team needs new blood and recent appointments, I think Williams will be one to watch in a couple of seasons, I would love to see them return to their former glorys.

    1. I agree with that view @bigbadderboom, it really feels like the start of a new era at Williams, let’s hope they will be getting back to winning in F1.

    2. Applause.

      Does he has a turn or section named after him in any circuit?

  11. Sir Frank Williams was a racer, through and through, who, with Patrick Head build a Legendary team to be proud of and we should all wish him well in his (semi) retirement.
    I do hope, however, that he has chosen the right person to hand over the reigns to. By that I don’t mean his daughter Claire, to whom we all wish great success.

  12. A-Safieldin (@)
    2nd March 2012, 16:25

    I believe he also has a son right? cuz i saw him once on some documentary..

  13. Frank Williams = True racer

  14. I do not pretend to understand the nuances of ‘not being a board member’ but still being ‘Team Principle’. However I regard the Williams team as being the creation of Frank, ably assisted by Patrick Head. Now that they are both gone from the ‘Board’ there is technically no reason why the team should not prosper but in reallity I fear that ‘Williams’ as we knew & loved it will never be the same!

  15. His only son is Jonathan Williams and has some role in the company. I miss the Rothmans Williams of 95,96 and 97 winning all round. For me,Williams won’t be the same without Head and Frank Williams

  16. Lol, April 1st?

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