Former Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says her mother Ginny played an “instrumental role” in the success of the British F1 outfit co-founded by her father, Sir Frank Williams.
Sir Frank fought through thick and thin on shoestring budgets as a private entrant in F1 in the early 1970 until the founding of William Grand Prix Engineering with partner and engineer Patrick Head.
But before success ensued in the 80s and after the devastating road car accident in 1986 that rendered Sir Frank tetraplegic, Virginia Williams was ever-present in the background, supporting her husband’s efforts with her loving devotion but also with her money.
“A lot of people probably don’t know the instrumental role my mum played in Williams,” Claire told F1.com.
“If it wasn’t for her money in the beginning, my dad would never have achieved his dream and this team wouldn’t have gone on to achieve what it did. She was always there behind the scenes.”
Ginny Williams sadly passed away in 2013 after losing her battle to cancer.
“She always said she was Williams’ biggest fan. She really was. Just like the rest of our family, she cared deeply for the team,” added the Grove team’s former deputy team boss.
“We have always carried her with us. We have her logo, that we created when she died, on our race car. We have pictures of her all round our motorhome. She leaves an incredible legacy in this sport as well.”
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As Claire Williams comes to terms with the fact that Britain’s most admired and celebrated motorsport family has departed the sport, the 44-year-old admitted that only time will allow her to grow accustomed to a new life away from F1 alongside husband Mark Harris and son Nate.
“We’re very happy the new owners believe so strongly in the heritage of this team, and respect the name,” she said.
“It is a reason why we chose them to be the new owners, they are going to continue that – the team will carry the Williams name going forward into the future and that’s wonderful, but I think for us, we probably need a little time to get over this. It feels like grieving for us.
“I’m sure there will be at time when we do turn on the TV on a Sunday afternoon and watch it because that’s what we’ve done for the past 44 years, but all we’ll be doing is wishing this team well,” she added.
“All the people in this team deserve to have success – and we hope that that comes for them in the very new future.”
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