(Reuters) – Williams’ deputy team principal Claire Williams has said she will remain in charge at the former Formula One champions for the time being after the team was sold to new owners last week.
“For the moment it’s business as usual, nothing changes in the here and now and we’re looking forward to going racing this weekend,” the daughter of 78-year-old team co-founder Frank, who still holds the title of team principal, told reporters via video conference at the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday.
“I’m here in my capacity that I was running the team in (at the last race) in Barcelona and the races prior to that and that will continue to be the case,” she said, adding that Mike O’Driscoll remained the team’s chief executive.
Williams announced their sale to U.S.-based Dorilton Capital last week.
The team, whose drivers this season are Briton George Russell and Canadian Nicholas Latifi, are the third oldest and third most successful constructor in Formula One history.
They have won 114 races and 16 titles overall, but the team last tasted championship success in 1997 while their last race win came in 2012.
They finished bottom of the constructors’ standings last year and are the only team yet to score points this season.
The sale, prompted by the need to secure the future of the team whose finances have suffered due to their poor recent on-track performance and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, marked the end of an era for the family-owned outfit.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since the change of ownership was announced, Williams confirmed that Dorilton, a private investment firm, had acquired 100% of the team’s shares with the family retaining no shareholding.
The company, conducting a review of the team’s operations, have said they intend to continue with the Williams name.
She also put to rest speculation that former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was connected to the team’s new owners.
“Bernie has nothing to do with our new ownership,” said Williams. “Dorilton Capital is completely independent, Bernie is not the new owner of Williams.”
She said Dorilton, who until the Williams deal had no motorsport investments in their portfolio, were a family-backed investment company but did not reveal their identity.
“I have no comment to make (on that),” added Williams. “We’ll be able to make that clearer over the coming weeks and months.
“But they’ve done a huge amount of due diligence since the start of this process. They were in the process from the beginning.
“I have absolute confidence that they are the right people to take this team forward.”
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Mumbai; Editing by Ken Ferris)