On September 3rd, Williams Racing announced the Williams family would step away from F1 after the Grand Prix in Monza, after 43 years in the sport. This would also mean Claire Williams’ time as Deputy Team Principal, a role she had fulfilled since 2013, would be over. During the “transitional time period” with the team being handed over from the Williams family to the American investment firm Dorilton Capital, Simon Roberts will take over the team principal duties, starting this weekend in Mugello.
Roberts started his career in the automotive industry in the 80’s at Perkins Engines. He moved to the BMW/Rover Group where he carried out a senior role in engineering and operations. In 2000, he joined the Alstom Group as an Operations Director. Roberts started his F1 career in 2003, when he joined the McLaren F1 Team as Operations Director and General Manager. He then had a year at Force India, in 2009, where he was appointed Chief Operating Officer, before returning to McLaren a year later. In 2017, the then Operations Director became McLaren’s Chief Operations Officer, being responsible for the engineering and factory operations. During his time at McLaren, Roberts received the Constructor’s Trophy on the podium once, at the German GP in 2011.
Earlier this year, in the wake of Paddy Lowe leaving the team, Williams created the new position of Managing Director. The Managing Director would be running the team on a day-to-day basis, supporting Claire Williams with her duties. They would be responsible for the F1 Technical Operations and Planning functions. Simon Roberts took on this position. He reported back to Williams CEO Mike O’Driscoll, who also announced this week that he would step away from the team.
It is at the moment not known how long Roberts will stay on as Team Principal at the historically iconic F1 team, but he is excited to take over from Claire.
“I am delighted to be announced as Acting Team Principal for Williams during this transitional period. 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.”