A trailblazer in the male-dominated world of motorsport, Claire Williams OBE was the Williams Formula 1 racing team’s former Deputy Team Principal. She is only one of two women to lead a Formula 1 team in recent history.
Under her leadership, the Williams team finished third in the World Championships in both 2014 and 2015. It was the team’s best performance since 2003.
Claire Williams grew up around Formula 1. Her late father, Sir Frank Williams, founded the Williams Grand Prix Engineering F1 team and won nine Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ Championships.
Although Claire Williams graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in politics in 19999, motorsport was in her blood. She started her motor racing career as a Press Officer for Silverstone Circuit and went on to join the Williams Formula 1 racing team as a Communications Officer in 2002. She was promoted to Head of Communications in 2010, and a year later, took on the position of Head of Investor Relations after the company’s public listing. In 2012 she was promoted to the position of Commercial Director. Part of her role saw her responsible for securing the team’s annual racing budget.
When her father stepped down from the Williams board in 2012, Claire Williams became the family’s representative due to her role as Commercial and Marketing Director. The board appointed her as Deputy Team Principal in 2013. She was responsible for the team’s daily running and long-term development.
Her career in motorsport has seen Claire Williams become one of the most prominent and successful women in recent Formula 1 history. Her second and third years in charge helped maintain the team’s prominence with top-five finishes in 2016 and 2017.
During her tenure, Claire Williams advocated for greater diversity and inclusion not only within her own team but across motorsport in general. She was the catalyst that allowed Susie Wolff to become the first female driver to participate in a Formula 1 race weekend since 1992. She also became an ambassador for the driver’s ‘Dare to be Different’ initiative. It strived to encourage young women to consider a motorsport career.
Claire Williams was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 in recognition of her services to Formula 1. Esquire named her International Woman of the Year two years before this.
Claire Williams is currently the Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association. She seeks to encourage people with spinal cord injuries to apply to established workplace opportunities for wheelchair users.
After successfully negotiating the sale of the Williams Formula 1 team in 2020, Claire Williams has gone on to provide consultancy services to various Formula 1 brands. She is also a popular speaker who regularly attends corporate events where she shares various insights on leading high-performance teams. She lives in the United Kingdom and presents in English.
“What a pleasure it was to work with Claire. It was fascinating to hear the story of her career as a trailblazing woman leader in the male-dominated world of motorsports - she's clearly an inspirational motivator of people, with the ability to drive transformational change and deliver success in the toughest of competitive environments. Her insight into the development of high-performance team cultures, as well as her ground-breaking work in F1 technology, sustainability and commercial strategy - plus of course diversity, equity and inclusion - offers enormous value to any corporate client, particularly those seeking a brand ambassador, or consulting advice on entering F1. Anyone who's seen her media or documentary appearances will know immediately how engaging she is as a presenter or keynote event speaker. It was a privilege to work with someone who has been such a force for positive social impact, not just at Williams F1, but in the motorsports industry as a whole.”