Mother's delight: Daughter Claire is Williams' new boss after mum's blessing
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Daddy's girl: Sir Frank Williams with his daughter Claire at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2012
‘I think it will make team
principals’ meetings quite interesting having two women there — I don’t
know how, but it will change the dynamic,’ said Claire, who will
represent the team when Sir Frank, who is still team principal despite
turning 71 next month, does not travel to races.
‘While I am pleased to have got where I have as a woman, it should be about merit.’
Claire, 36, has come through the media side of motor racing after taking a politics degree from Newcastle University.
Immersed in the sport all her life,
she was a press officer at Silverstone before moving to Williams in
2002, and has now been handed her fourth promotion in three years.
Her last job was as director of
marketing and communications, a role that involved bringing in revenue.
All the team’s current backers have re-signed, several of them on
She will continue to look after the
business side of Williams — a team desperately striving to reprise the
glory days of the Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Damon Hill eras.
After a few depressing years, the team
staged something of a renaissance in 2012, but they have struggled
again this season — neither Pastor Maldonado nor Valtteri Bottas has
registered a point in the first two races.
Much to ponder: Williams team principal Sir Frank during a practice session
Claire, whose boyfriend Andrew Murdoch
is Maldonado’s race engineer at the team’s Oxfordshire headquarters, is
unfazed by the flux of senior staff in the last year, drawing
inspiration from her stern apprenticeship.
‘Frank appreciates hard work,’ she said. ‘He whipped my a*** when I first came here.
‘He showed me no favours — quite the
opposite. I had to prove myself. If there is something that needs wiping
up you get the brush out yourself and do it yourself. That is the ethos
Sir Frank, one of the paddock’s great fighters, will appreciate the sentiment.