Simon Roberts has been named new acting team principal of Williams as the team prepare to start a fresh chapter with new owners.
A takeover from Dorilton Capital after the struggling Formula 1 outfit went up for sale has seen the Williams family step away from the day-to-day operations and Williams CEO Mike O’Driscoll announce his intention to retire following a transition period.
That transition period with the new owners will see Roberts take charge of the team for the foreseeable future.
“I am delighted to be announced as Acting Team Principal for Williams during this transitional period,” Roberts said upon confirmation of Williams’ latest announcement.
“It is an exciting time ahead for the team, a new era for Williams and one that I am excited to be playing a part in. I look forward to the challenge ahead as we look to take the team back to the front of the grid.”
Roberts first joined the Williams team in June as managing director, but before that he had established a long affiliation with Formula 1.
Roberts had spent nearly 17 years at McLaren as operations director and chief operating officer with a short spell in between in the latter role for Force India.
Monza, it's been emotional. Now it's time to start writing the next chapter in our story 💙
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 6, 2020
The now former deputy team principal, Claire Williams, said she was asked to stay on in the role by the new owners but no longer had the energy to run a team that no longer belonged to the family.
“I love this team, I will always love this team,” Claire Williams told Sky F1.
“I want to see it do well. I think anyone, I hope, can understand that me working for somebody else is potentially enormously difficult.
“I have run this team as my team for seven years and you put blood, sweat and tears into something like I have, for the time that I have, and made the sacrifices doing what we’ve done.
“This is a hard, hard business and I’ve given it my all.
“I’ve done that because I wanted to protect my family’s legacy in the sport. I’ve done it because I’m my dad’s daughter and I almost felt it was my duty to do this job.
“Now that the team is not ours. I don’t feel I can put the same amount of energy into it.
“The past few years have been incredibly tough. They have taken an awful lot out of me and, if I’m honest, I think Dorilton need someone with more energy than I’ve currently got. Somebody that can put in more than I can currently give it and to take it forward.
“They need someone to really drive the team forward and I don’t think I’m that person.