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Claire Williams considers quitting F1 team with slowest car and money problems

CLAIRE Williams could be forgiven for throwing in the towel and walking out of the team built by her father.

Sir Frank Williams’ daughter recently become a new mum and would rather be playing with her son than facing abuse from the Twitter trolls blaming her for the team’s current plight. It is not pretty.

 Life on an F1 team is tough for Claire Williams but she will not quit
Getty Images – Getty
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Life on an F1 team is tough for Claire Williams but she will not quit

Williams now have the slowest car in F1. Their finances are strained, plus their title sponsor, Martini, are not renewing their lucrative contract.

They could also lose their cash cow driver, Lance Stroll, who is bankrolled by his billionaire father, to rivals Force India.

And former Williams driver, Jacques Villeneuve, who won the title in 1997, recently declared the team as “dead”.

There was no sign Williams’ problems would improve here at the Hungarian GP either.

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 Claire Williams is running a team with a small budget
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Claire Williams is running a team with a small budget
 Williams have the slowest car in F1, strained finances, and a quitting sponsor
EPA
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Williams have the slowest car in F1, strained finances, and a quitting sponsor

Stroll, 19, was only 18th quickest in second practice while his team-mate Sergey Sirotkin, 22, was in last place on the timesheets.

Williams who has run the team since 2013 admitted: “Of course I think about walking away.

“Anyone with a team in this position would but it’s not because I can’t be bothered any more.

“I question whether I’m the right person to be doing this job. But I haven’t got to the point where I look in the mirror and think I’m the problem.

“If people are criticising me in the paddock or on social media, they can do that all they like.

“But if anyone in Williams says to my face that I was damaging the team, then I would go.

“Until then, I have much more I can do and I won’t give up. We are 10th and I hold my hands up. It is up to us to fix it.

 Former Williams driver, Jacques Villeneuve, who won the title in 1997, recently declared the team as “dead”
Getty Images – Getty
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Former Williams driver, Jacques Villeneuve, who won the title in 1997, recently declared the team as “dead”

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“It’s a hard process and it is humiliating. We go out every weekend — the Williams spirit is with us and we’ll keep fighting.

“I had a big discussion with dad a few months ago and he was a lot more supportive than I thought he was going to be.

“I thought he was going to say ‘Oh my God, what are you doing!’ but he didn’t.

“He was very philosophical and said, ‘Claire, we’ve had s****y times before and got through it. You have to keep pushing’.

“I want to impress him because he entrusted this job to me. I don’t want to embarrass my dad, or bring his team down. That would be horrendous.”

Williams, 42, has also received criticism as she juggles running the team with bringing up her son with husband Marc.

She added: “Having a baby was pretty tough for me. I agonised over it for many years.

“I was 41 when I had Nate but it was always delayed because it was never quite the right time at Williams. It got to the point where it was now or never.

“I vaguely knew what to expect, the guilt of being away from him, but it doesn’t make it any easier — yet this team is part of my family as much as Nate is.

“I am finding a balance but it doesn’t mean that when I have to leave him my heart doesn’t break a little bit.”

 The Williams driver could up sticks for a rival
Getty Images – Getty
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The Williams driver could up sticks for a rival

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One rescue plan for the team could be to run as a Mercedes B-team, an idea that Williams gives short-shrift. She added: “We would never be anyone’s B team.

“We’re tremendously proud and protective over our position within this sport. We have earned that.

“We have raced in F1 for over 40 years and many people have made sacrifices for this team.

“But the collaborations we see now, we have to explore those.

"We don’t want to be dinosaurs, the once-giant of Formula One who refused to change and adapt.”

CLAIRE WILLIAMS could be forgiven for throwing in the towel and walking out of the team built by her father.



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