mobile app bar

Williams F1 Handover Wasn’t Voluntary – Claire Williams Painfully Confronts End of Legacy

Aishwary Gaonkar

Williams F1 Handover Wasn't Voluntary - Claire Williams Painfully Confronts End of Legacy

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the finances of all F1 teams tremendously, but for Williams, the situation worsened to the extent of a sell-out. They were dealing with monetary struggles for a while and in September 2020, the Grove-base outfit was sold off to Dorilton Capital. Former team boss and founder Frank Williams’ daughter Claire Williams shed light on how this decision wasn’t voluntary and the circumstances coerced them.

Speaking on The MotorMouth podcast, Claire spoke about selling her family’s legacy off to the American firm.

“It was incredibly difficult. But it wasn’t a decision we made voluntarily. I think we all know that. Williams would still be in the Williams family if certain circumstances hadn’t driven us to that point of financial oblivion.”

The difficulties Williams went through in 2019 reflected the bad situation they were going through even before the pandemic rocked the world. Having production delays on their car and being late to testing, only to be the worst-placed team on the grid – the nine-time constructors champions were in no shape to compete.

On the contrary, the bigger teams would spend hundreds of millions of dollars, increasing the gap between them tenfold. The 2020 season was no different and the pandemic didn’t help their case. Claire mentioned how they “ran out of money, ran out of road”.

They had to start looking for a buyer and found Dorilton Capital to whom they would eventually hand the team over, ahead of the 2020 Italian GP. Claire Williams wasn’t happy that the team was going out of her family’s control, but she was sure that it was going to the right people.

However, she still thinks that if it were not for certain mitigating factors, the Williams family would still be around in F1.

How the Williams family would have survived in F1

F1 introduced the cost cap in 2021 and it made spending money a more equal game thereafter. The bigger teams had a major handicap, as the playing field was leveled, favoring outfits like Williams.

Claire Williams admitted that the cost cap would have massively helped them to keep the Grove-based outfit afloat in the 2010s. She revealed how the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes were spending “north of 200 million a year”. This unfortunately coincided with the timing of her arrival in the team.

The former Williams boss also tried to get a car manufacturer’s support but to no avail. The lack of an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) hurt them badly, as operating independently like they did in the 70s and 80s would not work in modern F1.

However, Claire also stated that they made mistakes from a competitive point of view as well. Not being able to produce a good car that improved year on year halted their progress massively. For context, Williams was the third fastest team in 2014 at the onset of the turbo hybrid era. They fell to be the last team in 2019.

Had they managed to deal with these factors, the Williams family would still be around. Nonetheless, their legacy still persists as the iconic British outfit is still fighting to improve its position in the sport.

Post Edited By:Somin Bhattacharjee

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

Read more from Aishwary Gaonkar

Share this article