Roberts aiming to keep ‘family feeling’ at Williams

Williams boss Simon Roberts says he wants to keep the unique family atmosphere at Grove following the team’s sale to Dorilton Capital last year and the departure of Sir Frank Williams and his daughter Claire.

Roberts took over as interim team principal last September, and has now been confirmed in the position for 2021 with former Volkswagen motor sport director Jost Capito joining as CEO in February.

“Dorilton don’t want to shift that lovely feel that exists within Williams, that kind of family spirit and friendliness,” Roberts told this week.

“We accept that things have to move on, but there will always be a place here for Claire to pop back and see us,” he continued. “Hopefully when we’re back in Europe sometime next year she’ll be able to do that.

  • Read also: ‘Fed up’ Claire Williams felt compelled to sell team

“But she’s had a really tough time. Keeping this together for as long as she has, and keeping spirits up as she has is amazing. We really respect everything she did.

“We’re Williams still and that’s really important to us,” he added. “Just trying to be open, trying to be as diverse as we can, employing people with all different backgrounds and nationalities, ethnic backgrounds. That’s really super important to us.

“When we talk about it still, in the various committees that we have on that kind of stuff, we still reference back to what it means because of Frank and because of Claire. So yeah, they’re always in our hearts.”

But Roberts said he hoped the injection of fresh capital into the operation would make a big difference in terms of performance. “We’ll be investing in some of the facilities in the factory.

“It’s just simple stuff, but stuff that makes it better for people to work there.” he said. “It’s 100 percent focused on adding performance, and that includes making sure it’s a great place to work.

“We’re fixing a lot of things, quite literally from leaks in the roof to doing maintenance on the wind tunnel that we haven’t been able to do for a while, and stuff like that.”

However incoming CEO Capito warned that even with the new investment there would be no quick fixes to the problems that have afflicted the team in recent years leaving it without a single championship point in 2020.

“With the new beginning, also with the new owners, you now have the opportunity to restructure and streamline again,” he told “This is important because fewer than zero points is not possible! It can only be better.

“But no matter what changes you make, it always goes down first, then it has to go up,” he acknowledged. “That means for this year, no miracles are to be expected because you can only change very little on the car.”

Capito added that the development freeze forced in the sport by the coronavirus pandemic had helped the smaller teams on the grid such as Williams.

“The small teams would have fallen even further because the large teams and the works teams can deal with COVID much better than a smaller team,” he explained. “That means the gap would actually have become even bigger.

“There was so much risk that it was absolutely right to postpone the regulations by a year,” he noted. “You didn’t know how many races could be run, how much money would come in, how much money would come in from television stations.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

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