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Williams' step-down ends F1 era

2012-03-03 14:06

FRANK WILLIAMS: The founder of the Williams F1 team has elected to stand down from the board of his company.

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Team principal Sir Frank Williams signalled the end of an era on Friday with his decision to follow co-founder Patrick Head and step down from the board of the former Formula 1 World champion team.

Williams and Head – the latter left the board at the end of December, 2011, after selling more than half of his shares - founded the team in 1977 and went on to oversee 113 GP wins, nine Constructors' titles and seven Drivers' crowns.

William, a tetraplegic since 1986 when he broke his back in a car accident, said in a statement: "I will be 70 in April and I have decided to signal the next stage in the gradual but inevitable process of handing over the reins to the next generation by stepping down from the board at the end of March, 2012."

DAUGHTER MARKETING BOSS

"This is not as dramatic a move as it may appear," said the man who was knighted in the 1999 British New Year's Honours list. "I shall continue to work full-time as team principal and I shall continue to attend all board meetings as an observer."

Williams, whose daughter Claire will join the board on April 1 as director of marketing and communications, will also remain as the majority shareholder in Williams GP Holdings. Her father said:

"It is no secret that Claire is my daughter but I am proud to say that she has fought hard to earn this appointment and, of all the battles she has had to fight, the prejudices of her father were not the least challenging.”

The British-based company has been listed since an initial public share offer in Frankfurt in March, 2011.

RENAULT ENGINES

The team will use Renault engines through 2012; it was won a race in 2004. The drivers for 2102 will be Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado and Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the triple champion Ayrton who died in a Williams in 1994.

The team had its worst season in 2011 - ninth overall with only five points.

It has a clear line of succession with chairman Adam Parr taking over much of the day-to-day running of the business.

Williams told the March, 2012 edition of F1 Racing magazine: "If for whatever reason I couldn't come in to do my job, Adam would fill the gap. He's not a racer but, in a way, that's probably an advantage in these distinctly commercial days.

“He's very good at making financial decisions and working out cost-to-benefit. And he can hold his own in the F1 meetings."
 
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