Williams bows out as privateer family team with spirited showing in Monza

It was the end of an era for the famous Williams F1 team as that of a family owned and run outfit on Sunday, as 43 years and 739 grands prix of racing ended at the iconic Monza circuit.

Of course, there was never going to be any serious hopes of a glorious podium finale, but after a hectic and dramatic race that featured both yellow and red flags, Nicholas Latifi ended up in 11th place, just shy of the points.

“It was a very tricky and eventful race,” said Latifi. “I lucked into the position having completed the pitstop prior to the red flag. It was nice that I got to experience a top 10 starting position with the restart following the red flag. We are still struggling on those opening laps, with cold tyres and dirty air. It seems that the other cars can do much more, whilst I am trying not to crash and maintain the position. I am disappointed that I slipped out of the points. Once things settled down, I think the pace was alright and I managed to catch Kimi which was nice to have some kind of a battle. I am happy with the overall result, but it would have been nice to reward Claire and the team with some points today.

“It’s been a huge privilege to race for Claire and Frank. From the moment I joined the team I felt right at home, and it was very clear the atmosphere and culture they’ve instilled is valued. You can understand why so many of the employees’ love working for them and the team. I’m going to miss them, Formula One is going to miss them, and I want to wish them all the best of luck for the future wherever life takes them.”

Teammate George Russell was for once was bettered by his teammate after finishing 14th, but echoed his sentiments on what was an emotional occasion.

“It’s also the end of an era and it’s been a privilege to be a part of it,” said Russell. “What Claire and Frank have done for the team, and for the people that work for the team, is extraordinary. They’ve always kept them in their hearts and that’s still the case now.”

But the last word must go to Claire Williams after her final duty as Deputy Team Principal, speaking on behalf of her father and everyone that has played a part in making the famous team what it is.

“It has been my greatest privilege and my biggest honour to work with everybody in our incredible team,” said Williams. “But more importantly from Frank, myself and everybody in the Williams family I would like to thank all of our team, past and present, for everything they have given to us over the years. They are the true warriors of this team and we wish them all the success in the world for the future.

“We would also like to thank all of our fans around the world who have supported us through thick and thin for so many years. You have humbled us. Our time in this sport has been a huge privilege, we leave with so many memories, we have been through highs and lows, triumph and adversity and will forever love Formula One.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.