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Former F1 team leader opens up on 'painful' departure

So painful they don't watch F1 anymore.

Former Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has conceded it is 'painful and difficult' to watch her former team being run by somebody else. Founded by Claire's father Sir Frank Williams in 1977, Williams enjoyed tremendous success in the 1980s and 1990s, winning seven Drivers' championships and nine Constructors' titles. In March 2013, Claire was appointed Deputy Team Principal and took over the day-to-day running of the team from Sir Frank. But with the team struggling for results, Williams was put up for sale and was acquired by United States investment group Dorilton Capital for €152 million in August 2020. That fee included the settling of debts, as well as a promise that the team would keep its United Kingdom base and the Williams name. Although Claire Williams was offered the chance to stay on as Team Principal, she announced her departure effective after that year's Italian Grand Prix, marking the first time that the Williams family were not at the helm of the team that bears their name. Speaking to The Sun , Williams revealed that the pain of having to sell the team, explaining: "I don't watch [F1] any more. "It has been a really conscious decision because I'm still recovering from taking a step back. "Leaving my team has left an enormous gap. We were reluctant sellers. Life took us down that road where we were forced to sell. "I'm getting to that point now where I’m going to start watching again. "It is still quite painful and difficult seeing someone else run the team that was once in our family and life."

Williams hails Vowles appointment

After Simon Roberts and Jost Capito had short stints as TeamPrincipal, former Mercedes Strategy Director James Vowles took the helm at Williamsin January. "It is nice that Williams as a name still remains in Formula 1," said Williams. "With James now being there, it looks like the team is moving inthe right direction. When they told me it was James I was like, 'My goodness, justgenius'. He's a brilliant choice. "I genuinely believe my dad would have been really happy withthat decision as well." Williams also spoke highly of the team's former driver George Russell,who graduated to Mercedes in 2022 after three seasons with the Grove-based outfit and has sinceestablished himself as one of F1's leading drivers. "I'm really proud of George and so happy for him because we didhold him back at Williams and kept him to his contract," said Williams. "My dad taught me, when you go through a struggle, the successwhen you finally get it, is all the more rewarding."

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