Williams embroiled in $100m legal battle involving fraud and adultery claims

Jamie Woodhouse
Logan Sargeant driving for Williams, rear view. Bahrain, February 2023.

A view from behind of Logan Sargeant driving the Williams FW45. Bahrain, February 2023.

The Williams team are reportedly embroiled in a complex legal battle in the United States, with a former employee bringing a $100 million lawsuit against them.

On the track it is a story of recovery for the Williams team which, with former Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles now at the helm, is looking to use the investment from owners Dorilton Capital to get back up to speed with the Formula 1 competition and chase their former glory.

Ex-Red Bull racer Alex Albon has been their shining light on the driving side, scoring all 11 of their points so far.

Legal battle threatens to bite Williams

But, that progress could potentially be slowed depending on the outcome of a battle in the courts.

As reported by The Times, Williams Racing’s former marketing executive Claudia Schwarz has brought a $100m lawsuit against them for, in her view, attempts to ruin her reputation and force her out of the organisation while trying to avoid paying her out of contracts.

She claims the team did this by leaking information regarding an alleged affair she was having, which she denies, with former chief executive Darren Fultz to a magazine, who was let go by the team after a ‘mystery investor’ in Dorilton demanded that the team’s budget was slashed due to poor on-track performance.

However, Williams are countering with a claim of their own worth $6.9m, the team accusing Schwarz of creating a scheme, involving her husband Axel Ludwig, which saw her pass work to such suppliers who she had a connection with to overcharge Williams over a period north of a year.

Williams counter though by saying Schwarz began an affair with Fultz as a means of swaying him to approve “inaccurate and overinflated invoices and improper credit card charges”.

The report claims Williams have been approached for comment, but declined.

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Downs Law Group lawyer Jeremy Friedman has though issued a statement, reading: “This lawsuit will bring to light what we contend are false public statements made by Dorilton and Williams about Schwarz and her company that we believe have been done in a calculated effort to avoid both contractual obligations and to put pressure on Schwarz to stay quiet and not defend herself.

“They believed that Schwarz would not fight back and defend herself, her companies and her reputation. She is fighting back.”

Formula 1 is currently in summer shutdown mode before the teams return to action at Circuit Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix from August 25-27.

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