Claire Williams OBE is a British former motorsport executive who led the Williams Formula 1 racing team. She is one of only two women to have ever lead a Formula 1 team. Under her leadership Williams finished 3rd in the World Championship for Constructors in 2014 and 2015, representing the team’s best performance since 2003.
After taking over the running of the team, Claire replaced drivers, switched to a Mercedes engine and increased the team’s racing budget by securing profitable corporate sponsorships, factors that helped the team’s renaissance between 2014 and 2017.
Today Claire is a global Brand Ambassador for WAE Technologies, formerly known as Williams Advanced Engineering, which is involved in the decarbonisation of heavy transport through the development of advanced, green and sustainable technologies.
Her late father, Sir Frank Williams, was the founder of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering F1 team, winning nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championship.
Claire has been among the most prominent and successful woman in recent Formula 1 history. Since successfully negotiating the sale of the Williams F1 team in 2020 Claire has provided consultancy services to brands entering Formula 1 and is a popular speaker at corporate events where she shares insights on leading high performance teams.
She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours List in recognition of her services to Formula One.
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After graduating in 1999 from Newcastle University with a degree in Politics, Williams became a press officer for the Silverstone racing circuit
In 2002, she joined the Williams team as Communications Officer, rising to become Head of Communications in 2010. In 2011, she was appointed Head of Investor Relations before being appointed Commercial Director in 2012, playing a lead role as Williams moved from private to public ownership through listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
When her father Sir Frank Williams stepped down later that year, Claire became the Williams family representative on the company’s board. In March 2013 she became Deputy Team Principal, the de facto team leader responsible for the day-to- day running of the team and its development. Sir Frank Williams retained the Team Principal title in recognition of his founding role and a lifetime of dedication to Williams Racing.
After taking the team to successive third places in the Constructors’ Championships in just her second and third years in charge, Claire maintained the team’s prominence with top 5 finishes in 2016 and 2017.
During her tenure, Claire was a keen advocate for greater diversity and inclusion within Williams Racing and across the sport. She acted as the catalyst to give Susie Wolff the chance to become the first female racing driver to participate in a Formula 1 race weekend since 1992.
As Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association, Claire also sought to encourage spinal cord injured individuals into the team and established workplace opportunities for wheelchair users.
In 2023 she launched the Sir Frank Williams Academy which provides life changing care for people with spinal cord injuries.
Since successfully negotiating the sale of theWilliams F1 team in 2020, Claire has provided consultancy services to brands entering Formula 1 and is a popular speaker at corporate events, sharing insights on leading high performance teams.