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Sir Frank Williams, Formula One Boss, To Step Down From Board

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Sir Frank Williams speaks to Prince Harry at the British Grand Prix
Sir Frank Williams speaks to Prince Harry at the British Grand Prix

Williams Formula One team founder Sir Frank Williams is to step down from the board, it has been announced.

His daughter Claire will join from next month, although the British racing pioneer will continue to be team principal.

Williams turns 70 next month, and he admitted that age has proven to be a barrier in overseeing the progress of the Williams team.

He said on the Williams website: "This is an opportune moment for me to consider my own role in the team. I turn 70 in April and I have decided to signal the next stage in the gradual but inevitable process of handing over the reins to the next generation by stepping down from the Board at the end of this month.

"This is not as dramatic a move as it may appear: I shall continue to work full-time as Team Principal and I shall continue to attend all Board meetings as observer. I also remain the majority shareholder of Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC."

Patrick Head, who was Williams' co-founder, left the board at the end of last year.

Claire Williams' role on the board, which she will undertake from 1 April, is billed as director of marketing and communications.

Frank Williams formed the eponymous racing team in 1977, making its racing debut at the 1978 Argentinian Grand Prix. It has since won seven drivers' championships and nine constructors' championships.

A car accident in France in 1986 resulted in Williams sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming a tetraplegic, and he has used a wheelchair ever since. He was driving a rental car to Nice airport when he lost control of the car which then rolled over causing him to crash onto the roof and resulting in a spinal fracture. He wasn't wearing his seatbelt.

Following the death of Williams driver Ayrton Senna in 1994 at Imola, he was charged with manslaughter in accordance with Italian law, but was cleared after several years.

Last month, Senna's nephew Bruno followed in his uncle's footsteps to sign for the Williams team ahead of the forthcoming F1 season.

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