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GP Week : Issue 179
F1 >>> NEWS EDITOR: Kate Walker email@example.com MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott F1 NEWS EDITOR Abhishek Takle TECHNICAL EDITOR Paolo Filisetti CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Leigh O'Gorman PRODUCTION ARTIST Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Daniel Kalisz PUBLISHER Chris Lambden email@example.com PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton email@example.com n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) firstname.lastname@example.org .com WEEK Claire being groomed as Williams team principal? Known by F1 fans as the last of the privateers, Williams – perhaps the last of the paddock’s ‘upstart’ garagistes – is a family firm through and through. Whether related by ties of blood or by a passion for racing in its purest form, the Grove outfit are a family. Like any family, Williams have been through their fair share of ups and downs over the course of their 36-year history. A terrible 2011 season was followed by the euphoria of a long-awaited return to the top step of the podium at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, while the beginning of 2013 saw a new low when it was announced that Virginia Williams, wife of team founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams, had lost her battle with cancer. It was a big loss. ‘Ginny’ Williams was mother not only to her three children, but to the team as a whole. She was a key asset in the team’s early days, helping Sir Frank to juggle the finances and keep the cars running. When Sir Frank was paralysed in a car accident she was a pillar of strength, helping to keep the F1 show on the road while tending to her husband and looking after her children. While Sir Frank has not been able to follow his team to the far-flung races introduced to the F1calendar in recent years, the popular team boss has remained in control of the outfit he founded, delegating on-site managerial responsibilities as needed to those he trusts. Claire Williams may have a life-long relationship with father Frank, but she has still had to earn that trust in a professional capacity – nepotism this ain’t. “When I first came here [to work in Grove], he was not keen on the idea at all,” she admitted in an inter view with The Daily Telegraph published last week. “He didn’t want to be seen to have his children working at Williams. But his view, over the years, has softened – he likes people who work hard. I had a lot to prove at the beginning, and I got my head down. I hope that he feels I do a fairly decent job.” That Claire has been promoted four times in the past 18 months – she now ser ves as a director of Williams Grand Prix Holdings Ltd., and is head of marketing for the Formula One team – speaks volumes of her tenacity and hard work. But while there have long been mutterings in the paddock that Claire will take over the role of team principal in the not-too-distant future, she feels that there is still a lot left to learn. “I have been promoted four times in the past 18 months, so everything has been happening quite quickly,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “People have been speculating, whispering ‘that will be your role one day’, and as I keep making these steps up I suppose it is becoming a deeper conversation. But Frank is still our team principal. He turned 70 last year and continues to come into the office seven days a week. At the moment I’m very content to work alongside him, learning as much as I can. Whether I take over one day is yet to be seen.” 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: