Thursday, April 18

Claire Williams spared the axe as F1 team unveil new colour scheme

PA | 2mo
Williams head into the 2019 Formula One season with a new driver line-up and title sponsor.

Claire Williams claims she would have been sacked if father and boss Frank had not liked the paint job on the team's latest Formula One cars.

Williams have ditched their traditional navy-and-white colour scheme, instead unveiling a sky-blue-and-white look at their Grove headquarters on Monday.

The British outfit have won a combined 16 driver and team titles, but haven't celebrated a grand prix victory since 2012. Last season they finished rooted to the foot of the constructors' championship.

For this year British rookie George Russell teams up with Robert Kubica, who will be back on the grid for the first time since 2010 following a horror rally crash that almost claimed his life.

Deputy team principal, Claire, hopes to usher in a new era. Speaking about the reaction to the new livery by her father, who founded the team more than 40 years ago, she said: "Frank loved it, and you might be surprised to hear that.

"I was a little nervous presenting it to him. Frank is very traditional and protective of the traditional navy blue and white, but also understanding of the arguments behind the change.

"We are telling the world a very clear story and clear message as to where we are as a company.

"He is fully behind it. I am still here, and if he didn't like it, he would have fired me."

Williams have signed with a new title partner, ROKiT – a telecommunications company which is expected to bring substantial investment to the team – on a multi-year deal.

At the end of last year, Williams were left without a main sponsor after drinks brand Martini chose not to renew its contract.

Williams added: "Martini's departure gave us a great opportunity to show how we wanted to position Williams moving forward.

"This is a very important year for us, so we spent a lot of time on this livery.

"A lot of people are fully aware of our traditional colours, but I wanted to move away from that and show the world we are a fresh, revitalised brand.

"A Formula One car is your shop window to the world so I wanted to make sure we came out with a really bright livery."

Russell, the reigning Formula Two champion, makes the step up to F1 this season after a year as Lewis Hamilton's understudy at Mercedes.

The Englishman, who turns 21 on Friday, said: "It is important to try and build a great relationship with the team and show what I can do on track as well as behind the scenes.

British rookie George Russell, left, will partner Robert Kubica at Williams this season. (Adam Davy/PA)

"The help I have had from Mercedes and Lewis has been mainly listening and learning.

"Lewis goes out there to work on every aspect and really build that team around him, which is why he and Mercedes are so strong. That is what I want to do here."

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