• Claire Williams has announced her resignation from the team after the Italian GP.
• The family has run the team since its first race in 1977, founded by Sir Frank Williams.
• Dorilton Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering have taken over the team.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Claire Williams has announced the family will be moving away from Formula 1 and stepping down after the Italian GP this weekend.
A post on the Formula One Instagram account reads: "Williams Racing's Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams, is to step down from her role with the team after the Italian Grand Prix this weekend. The Williams family confirm the end of their involvement with the team founded by Sir Frank Williams."
Claire also revealed on Twitter in a personal message on the team's profile saying: "I am sure by now you have all seen the decision that the Williams family are stepping away from Formula One and I will be resigning my role after this race weekend here in Italy.
"I just wanted to send a very personal message to you all out there to say thank you for all the support that you have given us through all the years of racing.
"I know so many of you have been by our side through thick and thin. You've been with us through the good times, the many bad times, and we couldn't have got through it all without you."
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In a press statement, the Williams F1 team says on its website: "This weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza will mark the final race for the Williams family in Formula One. After 43 years and 739 Grands Prix, the family is set to leave the sport following the recent change in ownership to Dorilton Capital.
"Sir Frank and Claire have ensured the family have remained at the helm of the team since the first race on 8th May 1977 at the Circuito de Jarama in Spain. The team has been through many periods of triumph and adversity but has always navigated them as a family. Williams has won 114 Grands Prix, taken 128 pole positions and secured 133 fastest laps, culminating in nine Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ World Championships. It is the third longest standing team in the history of the sport and one of the most successful.
"The recent conclusion of the Strategic Review process and consequent sale of Williams Grand Prix Engineering to US-based investment firm, Dorilton Capital ensures the long-term future of the Williams Formula One team and provides a timely point at which the Williams family have chosen to exit the sport.
Claire Williams further says: "With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport. As a family, we have always prioritised Williams. We have demonstrated that by our recent actions with the Strategic Review process and we believe now is the right time to hand over the reins and give the new owners the opportunity to take the team into the future.
"We have been in this sport for more than four decades. We are incredibly proud of our track record and the legacy we leave behind. We have always been in it for the love of it, for the pure pleasure of going motor racing, so this is not a decision that we have taken lightly but after much reflection and as a family.
"We are greatly appreciative of Dorilton's encouragement to continue, but in them we know the team will be in good hands and the Williams name will live on. This may be the end of an era for Williams as a family-run team, but it is the beginning of a new era for Williams Racing and we wish them much success in the future.
"On behalf of Frank and the Williams family, I would like to say how incredibly grateful and humbled we are for the support we have enjoyed over the years, from our friends in the paddock to the many fans around the world. But mostly, we would like to thank our team. People who have worked at Williams in the past and present. They are the true warriors of this team and have made it what it is and we wish them well. Formula One has been our life for so long and now it’s time for a new chapter in our lives to begin."
Matthew Savage, Chairman of Dorilton Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, said: "We fully respect the very tough decision of Claire and the Williams family to step away from the team and the business after securing new resources for its future.
"Claire's achievement in sustaining Williams Racing's heritage, relevance and commitment to innovation in a difficult environment since taking charge in 2013 has been nothing short of monumental. She has also been hugely instrumental in shaping a more level technical and financial playing field for F1, which will help to ensure the team’s return to the front of the grid in seasons to come.
"We are proud to carry the Williams name into the next exciting phase for the sport and we thank Sir Frank, Claire and the Williams family for the opportunity to be part of this great British brand."
Compiled by Janine Van der Post