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Williams family news came as a “shock” to F1 race team

The Williams Formula 1 race team preparing for the 2020 Italian Grand Prix found the pre-event news that the Williams family would step away from squad “surprising” and a “shock”.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The announcement that Frank and Claire Williams will end their involvement with F1 after this weekend’s race at Monza followed the sale of the squad to investment firm Dorilton Capital last month.

In the two weeks since the sale was revealed, the Williams race team has travelled to Belgium and Italy as part of F1’s latest 2020 triple header, with drivers George Russell and Nicolas Latifi discovering that the Williams family would be departing shortly before it was announced.

 

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The team's head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, explained how it had been received by the squad.

“So that news at the beginning of this weekend was a bit of a surprise to us,” he said.

“And obviously it's a real shame that it marks the end of an era with the Williams family's involvement in the team.

“But beyond that, it hasn't changed what we've been doing this weekend. As last weekend, Claire is still here and in charge and the exact ramifications of it going forwards I haven't really given too much thought to yet.

“It's a big shock to everyone. And quite how the future will pan out is still a little bit of an unknown, but hopefully it'll be a good and exciting future.

“We'll find out more in the coming weeks, but at the moment we're very much focused on day to day business at the track.”

When asked by Motorsport.com if Williams had any plan to appoint an interim team boss for at least next weekend’s race at Mugello, Robson explained that he did not anticipate such a development at this stage.

“Claire's obviously normally at the track, but when she's here she's a little bit hands off and quite happy to let those of us who run the engineering side of things keep the show on the road at the races,” he said.

“I think, as far as I'm aware, that will be same in Mugello - obviously Claire won't be there, but there's often races that she's not at and we all carry on running the engineering side of things as we normally do.

“And then we've got a break before we get to Russia and we'll see how it pans out.”

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