Claire Williams shaping up to be new team boss

Claire Williams

Claire Williams

Claire Williams could be shaping up to take over at the helm of the Formula 1 team that her father Sir Frank started in the seventies.

When Claire’s mother, Ginny Williams, died in the days preceeding the recent 2013 season opener, it emerged her father Sir Frank Williams would also not travel to Australia.

As technical boss Mike Coughlan stepped up to stand in as acting team boss, he declared in Melbourne that he was only running the team for one race “until Claire is able to come back”.

The comments triggered reports that Claire, 36, is already the team boss.

Officially, she is head of marketing, having quickly gained a few promotions at the Oxfordshire based team in the past 18 months.

A report in the Telegraph on Thursday said Frank Williams, 70, has already declared that a succession plan is in play.

“It really freaked me out when he said that,” Claire, whose boyfriend is Pastor Maldonado’s engineer, said.

“When I first came here, he was not keen on the idea at all. He didn’t want to be seen to have his children working at Williams.”

But things have changed. Last year, Frank stepped down as a director on the board of his own team and was replaced by Claire.

She admitted things have been speeding ahead “quickly”.

“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,” said Ms Williams. “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.”