Claire Williams says she will fight with every inch of her being to rescue her family’s team from its current position in Formula One.
Williams ended a dismal 2018 campaign bottom of the standings with just seven points, continuing the slump which has followed the team finishing third in 2014 and 2015. The team also confirmed the loss of its title sponsorship deal with Martini last year, although it will announce a new one with the unveiling of its 2019 livery on Monday.
Williams’ role is officially deputy principal but she is the defacto boss of the team started her by father, Frank, in 1977. Despite its current struggles it remains one of the most successful teams in the sport’s history, with 114 race victories as well as nine constructors’ and seven drivers’ championships to its name.
The team’s current predicament has increased pressure on the current management structure at the team but Williams says her motivation is as strong as ever.
“This is our family’s team, so there is a lot riding on that,” Williams told Racer. “One of the reasons why I took this job was to protect not just my dad’s but my mom’s legacy in this sport. It’s a legacy that we’re enormously proud of. So there’s that pressure.
“And I care very deeply about the reputation of this team, I care very deeply about the people that work for us and I want to make sure that they have a team that they can be proud of and that this team survives for many, many, many years to come in our sport.
“So I have a huge personal investment, but I wouldn’t be doing anything else. I love what I do, I’m very lucky to do what I do, and I actually find the challenge probably more invigorating than if we were just happily cruising around in P4 and grabbing the occasional podium.
“For me, I very much actually almost liken my journey to that when Frank started the team. We’re on our uppers from a performance perspective and you have to fight hard if you’re going to be successful in any sport. Because success is so incredibly rewarding, that success isn’t easy to come by. Just ask Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss], it takes an enormous amount of hard work — luck doesn’t necessarily come into it.
“I’m prepared for that and I’ve got my sleeves rolled up and I’m going to fight with every inch of my being in order to achieve what I want Williams to achieve and I won’t give up until I do. I’ll go down fighting if I have to, but I will continue to fight for this team because I believe in it. I believe it has a place in this sport, I believe it still has a very great relevance and it shouldn’t be where it is at the moment.”
Williams will have a new driver line-up this year. Lance Stroll has moved across to the team now owned by his father, Racing Point (formerly Force India), while Sergey Sirotkin was not retained. Instead, the team will contest the season with the returning Robert Kubica and reigning Formula 2 champion George Russell.