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Claire Williams speaker

Claire Williams

Former motorsport executive

Claire Victoria Williams OBE is a British former motorsport executive who was the deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team from 2013 to 2020. She is one of only two women to have ever managed teams in Formula One.

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Claire Williams's videos

Available for

Languages: 

  • English
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Claire Williams's 2024 biography

Meet Claire Williams

Claire Williams OBE led the Williams Formula 1 racing team until 2020, in which role she was one of only two women to head a Formula 1 team in the modern era. Under her leadership Williams finished 3rd in the World Championship for Constructors in 2014 and 2015, the team’s best performance since 2003.

Today she is a global Brand Ambassador for green technologies business WAE Technologies, formerly Williams Advanced Engineering, and one of the expert Formula 1 analysts on the Netflix ‘Drive To Survive’ documentary series.

Her late father, Sir Frank Williams, was the founder of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering F1 team, winning nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championships.

Claire graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Politics in 1999 prior to starting her career as a Press Officer for Silverstone Circuit. In 2002, she joined the Williams team as Communications Officer, rising to become Head of Communications and Head of Investor Relations before being appointed Commercial Director in 2012.

When Frank Williams stepped down later that year, Claire became the Williams family representative on the company’s board. In March 2013 she became Deputy Team Principal, the de facto team leader responsible for the development and day-to- day running of the team. Sir Frank Williams retained the Team Principal title in recognition of his founding role and a lifetime of dedication to Williams Racing.

Claire has been among the most prominent and successful women in recent Formula 1 history. After taking the team to successive third places in the Constructors’ Championships in just her second and third years in charge, Claire maintained the team’s prominence with top 5 finishes in 2016 and 2017.

During her tenure, Claire was a keen advocate for greater diversity and inclusion within Williams Racing and across the sport as a whole. She acted as the catalyst to give Susie Wolff the chance to become the first female racing driver to participate in a Formula 1 race weekend since 1992.

As Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association, Claire also sought to encourage spinal cord injured individuals into the team and established workplace opportunities for wheelchair users. In April 2023 she launched the Sir Frank Williams Academy which aims to provide life changing care for spinal cord injured people, a charitable initiative which has received support from the Williams Racing team.

Since successfully negotiating the sale of the Williams F1 team in 2020 Claire has provided consultancy services to brands entering Formula 1 and is a popular speaker at corporate events where she shares insights on leading high performing teams. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours List in recognition of her services to Formula One.

Claire Williams's 2024 talks & topics

Leadership

The requirements of Formula One’s team leaders have changed significantly in recently years as teams have become larger, more complex, and the business model to which the sport operates has been transformed. The leaders in F1 today are responsible for leading up to 1800 full time employees, creating a high-performance organisation which is fully aligned behind a strategy aimed at achieving a set of well defined, ambitious goals.

Competitive team leaders create a culture in which team personnel take responsibility and are happy to be held accountable for their performance. Developing a high degree of psychological safety is key, requiring staff to speak up and speak out, with strong cross functional communications. A relentless focus on continuous improvement is part of the F1 leaders mindset, and teams take a data-driven approach to measuring performance, highlighting issues and analysing developments. But whilst F1 is a technocentric sport, the successful leaders recognise that it is the people who make a difference. This is why so much effort is deployed to create an environment within which employees thrive, using their combined talents to problem solve and create highly innovative solutions in order to drive competitive advantage.

Teamwork/Collaboration

Competitive Formula One teams comprise 1800 staff, less than 10% of whom attend the race events, so teamwork requires complete alignment, shared purpose and close collaboration across the business. The world championship includes 24 Grands Prix and these represent a series of non-negotiable deadlines which the entire organisation has to meet in terms of car development, hardware and software upgrades. The ultimate, public example of high-performance teamwork comes in the form of the mandatory pit stops which have to be performed during a race – the record now stands at 1.8 seconds during which 22 staff carry out 36 tasks under extreme pressure.

Alignment behind the team’s strategies and ambitious goals is vital, so too having the agility to flex strategy in the face of constant changes in technology and the performance of competitors.

Data-driven performance & Innovation

More than any other sport, Formula One has embraced a data-driven business culture, particularly with its near obsession with marginal gains and continuous improvement. F1 teams use data to enable drivers, engineers and HQ staff to determine precisely how the car and driver is behaving, diagnose issues, resolve problems and speed up decision making. As information flows seamlessly around the globe, linking car, team and factory, tech security is essential and robust systems ensure protection from multiple threats.

The use of simulators has transformed driver training, enabling systems to be learned, tested and developed in a virtual environment prior to real-world deployment. And with the advent of additive manufacturing, machine learning and AI across F1, the sport’s use of technology to innovate and transform all aspects of its operations is set to accelerate further.

Safety & Risk Management

Safety is a first order priority in Formula One and the last 25 years have seen a profound change to the way in which the sport manages risk. Between 1950 and 1994, there were over 40 driver fatalities at races; there has been one since. This has been made possible by creating clear priorities as regards safety. Compliance is non-negotiable. Safety is not an area of competitive advantage. Safety systems, processes and technologies are shared so that F1 doesn’t have islands of excellence in oceans of mediocrity.

However, the risk averse teams never win in F1 – the teams which embrace and manage risk are more likely to try new things, innovate in ways both small and large, and ultimately drive competitive advantage. It’s the difference between participating and competing. The other factor is ‘fear of failure’. Teams that have a blame culture create such a degree of fear that everyone minimises their contribution and hides their mistakes, whereas those which thrive on creating a learning environment of continuous improvement have a degree of openness, honesty and transparency which promotes creativity and innovation, and taking risks, in a controlled way.

Claire Williams's 2024 speaking fees

Claire travels from:
  • United Kingdom

Specific fees fall within the ranges shown. These are presented as a guide only and are subject to change without notice.

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Please provide details of your budget for Claire Williams's speaking fee, including currency.