She spent her school holidays working in the mail room – but little did Claire Williams suspect that she’d one day be in charge of the day-to-day running of her father’s legendary Williams squad.
From the outside looking in, it would be all-too-easy to assume that Claire Williams got handed her current role, as Deputy Team Principal of Williams, on a silver platter. But it’s a job that Sir Frank’s daughter never envisaged having.
“It was never in my destiny to run it,” Williams tells Tom Clarkson in the latest episode of F1's official podcast, Beyond The Grid, presented by Bose. “My parents were very strong in their opinions that nepotism was not a good thing – that this was, as my Mum always called it, Dad's train set, and he'd rather smash it up than let other people play with it.
“They very much wanted all of their children to go off and do their own thing and make their own way in this world and not hang off Dad's coat-tails. I really respected that and I had no aspirations at a young age to run it. I loved it, I loved coming to the racetrack, it was always a real treat, and I loved working at Williams in my holidays, which I spent an awful lot of time doing.”
Working her way up from ‘annoying the secretaries’ as a bored five-year-old to taking on the Deputy Team Principal role in 2013 has been a convoluted, emotional and occasional tumultuous journey for the politics graduate.
In the latest episode of Beyond The Grid, Williams reveals the pressures of running a national treasure, coping with a Formula 1 organisation when it’s under-performing, as well as looking back at the incredible history of the team her father founded in 1977.
To check out all the episodes to date, including conversations with the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart, Christian Horner and Jacques Villeneuve, click here.