Following Claire Williams decision to resign her position of Deputy Team Principal after last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, it has today been announced that Williams’ Managing Director Simon Roberts will step in to the role on a (currently) acting basis.
In doing so, Simon Roberts becomes Williams first ever non-Williams-family Team Principal in the team’s glorious history.
Simon Roberts joined Williams in June of this year as Managing Director as the team sought to strengthen its leadership team in the wake of Paddy Lowe‘s much-publicised departure, some 12 months earlier.
Roberts brings with him almost 17 years experience in Formula 1 with McLaren and Force India, where he graduated to the role of Chief Operations Officer, overseeing team ops and delivery of car development from design to the track.
He also has experience of managing an F1 team through turbulent waters, having overseen the McLaren team ops during the period when Ron Dennis – the guy who pretty much founded the McLaren F1 team we see today – was bought out, and replaced by current Executive Director Zak Brown.
That should come in handy in the weeks and months to come at Williams HQ at Grove – Roberts’ first as Team Principal – where significant upheaval is to come following the team’s sale to US investment firm Dorilton Capital.
Simon Roberts‘ first task will be to get the team together for the forthcoming Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, where they hope to better an 11th place at the recent Italian Grand Prix, where an improvement of just one place would secure the team’s first points of the season.
Whether Roberts is in the frame for the Team Principal gig full time will be down to its new owners Dorilton Capital and incumbent board members James Matthews, Matthew Savage & Darren Fultz, who will presumably be weighing up all their options, including bringing in an experienced TP from elsewhere.
However, for the time being, having someone with Roberts’ experience, already embedded within the team step up makes total sense. And if he does a good enough job, and he fancies it, then why not?