Simon Roberts takes over as acting team principal at Williams

2020 F1 season

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Williams has announced Simon Roberts has taken charge of running the team following its sale to new owners Dorilton. He has been appointed as acting team principal.

The team confirmed last week deputy team principal Claire Williams would stand down after Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Roberts, 57, joined Williams from McLaren in May as their managing director with responsibility for their technical, operations and planning divisions. He previously spent 17 years at McLaren, including a one-year spell when he was seconded to Force India, and rose to the role of chief operating officer at the time of his departure.

“It is an exciting time ahead for the team, a new era for Williams and one that I am excited to be playing a part in,” said Roberts. “I look forward to the challenge ahead as we look to take the team back to the front of the grid.”

Williams also announced today CEO Mike O’Driscoll will retire following the completion of the team’s transition under Dorilton.

“It has been and remains a huge privilege to be part of this great team,” said O’Driscoll. “I am proud to have played my part in securing the long-term future of Williams and look forward to working closely with Matthew [Savage, team chairman] and his team, to ensure a smooth transition and the best possible trajectory for the team’s future 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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37 comments on “Simon Roberts takes over as acting team principal at Williams”

  1. Well, not clear whether he’s interim or there to stay, but at least he is a set of capable hands to have the team in, and probably had enough time to have lists of all the things that need to be worked on in some detail already! Wish him luck, and hopefully some success

    1. @bosyber “Acting Team Principal” implies it’s an interim role. It may become permanent, but at the moment, it isn’t. :)

      1. Yes I know, and so it is not yet clear right @optimaximal

  2. His resume looks good by all counts, but I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of him. Best of luck though.

  3. Well good luck to him I hope he is given the moral and financial support he needs to make things work.

      1. Still a recent image I guess, @shimks, @greg-c.
        Sofina logo prominently in background. They only became a sponsor last year and more prominently in 2020 with Latifi in a driver’s seat.

    1. Coventry Climax
      8th September 2020, 23:40

      Your picture doesn’t disclose your true age either, Beerkuh! ;-)

      1. I honestly can’t remember so far back!! :-c

      2. Don’t worry Coventry Climax, that’s one of my better photos

        and i think this bloke is actually Jason Statham

  4. I hope they had MGU-K units fitted to the doors at Williams. A lot of power will have been generated recently by all that slamming… Never mind a new broom, this is more like an industrial dyson going through the place getting rid of all the old wood.

    1. They probably have revolving doors fitted for the change over

  5. Good news, glad that’s settled for the moment; time to get down to it…
    Item 1 : Secure Mercedes gearboxes from next year
    Item 2 : Divert internal gearbox spend to aero department

    1. Claire said Mercedes gearboxes are more expensive than doing their own, @harrisf1

      Tho being so narrow and with those new aero-friendly rear wishbones now might be the time, but it’ll be a spend more than a saving.

      1. I suppose they’re worth it anyway judging by mercedes’ and williams’ results these last years.

  6. He is almost bald! – No good can come of this….

    1. @nullapax Better aero though right?

      1. @f1osaurus that’s a fair point actually.

        1. @nullapax It’s why Newey streamlines his bonce.

          1. Newey didn’t require a big rake, unlike his cars.

  7. I agree with sourcing merc gearboxes, no more aluminium casing from next year I imagine. I was just thinking that despite the slump over last 15 years it’s nuts that Williams in effect has 1 in 7 wins

    1. Yes, not bad I suppose over a long time span.

      1. @esploratore. Different time back then though I guess with being Honda and Renault main team for a while. I was also amazed that it took only their 4th season to be champions

  8. Looking at both ends of the 2020 season has one team heading towards breaking many long standing records and another figuring out how to overcome the grim current situation left by Claire.
    Gotta admire the effort to return the team to former glory. Unfortunately so much has already fallen into place and the odds for Williams to make much of a dent anywhere is nothing more than wishful thinking at best.
    The next race win is expected by Mercedes while At the same time Williams just hopes to getting into Q2 and that is a pretty formidable task at present.
    But Williams appears to Start becoming “new” again. They have a stable person in position now.
    Start with enough race management to build a new race weekend program. Solid work here is where the success of the New Williams is born. I hope those who remain, will look at Frank and Claire as examples of family tradition and that they certainly tried to relive the companies past success right up to the end.
    Seems like all of F1 is waiting and hoping for a new start in 2022, one where the playing has been leveled and even a Williams might have a chance at victory.
    They call that being good for the sport.

    Stir them up and start again but note one team had no problems transitioning through major rule changes where the playing field hoped to level itself last cycle 2022 is near now and history tells us that Williams is ripe to retain its current environment of trying hard with little to show for. I expect their predicament to continue as is.
    Gotta start the process with one person
    and today the New Williams has begun.

  9. maybe with a man in charge things will be going on the right track in the future

    1. This is a pretty poor effort at trolling.

      1. ? not everything you disagree with is an attempt at trolling
        just hope stuff turns out for the better for williams (2nd most successful f1 team btw, once)

    2. It’s about time Keith blocked unregistered users from commenting.

  10. If I were in Williams new owners position, I would look to have a renault partnership from 2022 onwards… Maybe to start as a Renault B-team and get all the technical assistance from the (something like RP with Mercedes), I’m pretty sure renault engines are cheaper and after loosing mclaren, renault won’t have a team to sell their engines to so they can benefit from the mileages.
    I know Mercedes engines are better, but maybe with the complete technical assistance they can work more on the general car (specially with the new regulations).

    1. @luigismen That sounds like a good strategy. The Renault PU doesn’t seem to be giving too much away to the Mercedes now anyway, and a stronger technical partnership that reduced their costs would be handy (though I believe Renault buy a lot of their components for the PU, so they won’t achieve the same economies of scale that Mercedes does when they produce more of them).

  11. Step 1 for Williams: Adjust the AI difficulty slider down to “0.”
    Step 2: Do all the practice programs each week, save up Resource Points, and fully upgrade your car.
    Step 3: Cross fingers that your results in the F1 2020 game somehow translate into the real world.

    1. @apollo16rs Step 4: Master the art of tapping peoples end plates with your radiators as you dive up the inside and watch them have to make 5 pit stops per race.

  12. I wish him and the team well….my first point to judge him will be the team in front of the Ferrari engined cars in qualifying….and with the best engine on the grid, that should be the easiest bit….

  13. I think anyone who thinks that Williams fortunes will change dramatically this year or next is dreaming a little.

    There’s just so little scope for development – the best they can do is improve a little more and be competitive with Haas and Alfa.

    Their focus has to be on 2022 as its the first real chance that any of the teams have to have a dramatic shift in performance. I’d be hoping there’s already a lot of planning occurring – and that there will be a lot of reviewing of those plans, allocation of budgets etc. by the new management.

    Hopefully, like McLaren, they’ll steadily climb back up.

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