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Williams appoint Simon Roberts as Acting Team Principal

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Williams’ new owners have opted to promote from within following the departure of Sir Frank Williams and his daughter Claire as they reveal Simon Roberts will step up as Acting Team Principal…

Last month, it was revealed Williams had agreed to sell the team to private investment firm Dorilton Capital with Claire – who has run the team day-to-day in her role as Deputy Team Principal since 2013 – deciding to step down after last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

While Dorilton map out their long-term strategy, they’ve decided to name an interim boss to take the reins – selecting Roberts, who has fulfilled the role of Managing Director at the team since joining in June.

On arriving at Grove, Roberts took overall responsibility for the team’s technical, operations and planning functions, reporting to Mike O’Driscoll - who announced on Tuesday that he would be retiring from the team after a transiton period following the sale.

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.

Simon Roberts, Williams Acting Team Principal

“I am delighted to be announced as Acting Team Principal for Williams during this transitional period,” said Roberts. “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.”

Roberts spent nearly 17 years at McLaren as Operations Director and then Chief Operating Officer. He also did a year on secondment at Force India as Chief Operating Officer in 2009, and on returning to McLaren took over responsibility for engineer and factory operations.

READ MORE: Claire Williams gifted nose and front wing assembly from 2014 car as family bows out of F1

ANALYSIS: The end of an era at Williams

Lawrence Barretto, Senior Writer for F1.com, says…

This is a savvy move from the new owners.

Roberts has spent the last three months immersing himself in the team, getting to know the intricacies of each department and giving himself an overview of the F1 operation.

He also has extensive Formula 1 experience and knows the sport well, so he’s a safe pair of hands while Dorilton define their future strategy and shape how they want to structure the leadership team.

The full-time Team Principal appointment is a crucial piece of the puzzle, which is why it is anticipated the new board will take some time to build a shortlist and speak to potential candidates before making a final decision.

READ MORE: Williams announce board overhaul after founding family's exit - and there's a royal connection

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