Roberts exits Williams, Capito new team principal

Date published: June 9 2021 - Jon Wilde

Jost Capito, Williams CEO

Simon Roberts has left Williams following an internal restructure and will be replaced as team principal by Jost Capito, the CEO.

Technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison will now oversee all engineering, with Roberts having previously been in charge of trackside engineering.

Roberts joined as managing director in June 2020 and was confirmed as team principal only in February, having filled that position in an interim role following the Williams family’s sale to Dorilton Capital last summer.

Capito, who joined Williams earlier this year, said: “Simon has played an integral role in managing the transition over the last 12 months and I would like to thank him for his great contribution during that time.”

Roberts added: “It has been a pleasure to take on the role of team principal following the departure of the Williams family from the sport. However, with the transition well under way, I am looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone in the team well.”

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It has been reported that Roberts was informed of Capito’s decision on Tuesday and left the same day, with staff being briefed on developments on Wednesday morning.

Williams say the restructure “further streamlines operations as part of the long-term objectives to return Williams to the front of the grid”.

The news comes as Williams are still seeking their first points since the 2019 German Grand Prix, when Robert Kubica finished 10th after 30-second time penalties were issued to both Alfa Romeos.

George Russell, who has been ‘on loan’ at Williams from Mercedes since 2019, has yet to score any points for the team even though he frequently starts among the top 15 on the grid.

Capito, 62, has a career in motorsport that dates back to 1985 when he joined BMW. The German’s main successes have been in World Championship rallying with Ford and Volkswagen.

He and Demaison worked together previously at Volkswagen, where they developed the ground-breaking ID.R electric vehicle which set records at Pikes Peak and the Nurburgring.

When Demaison arrived at Williams after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Capito described him as the “perfect fit” for Williams.

“He is a brilliant engineer and he worked for almost 10 years with Willy Rampf, who was previously a technical director in Formula 1,” said Capito. “They worked very closely together, and as a result a lot of Formula 1 technology and knowledge flowed into the WRC car.

“During this time, he learned a lot from Willy Rampf. That’s why I think he’s a perfect fit for Williams.”

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