LONDON (Reuters) - The Williams family have done the right thing in selling their team and leaving Formula One, according to 1996 world champion Damon Hill.
Comparing Frank Williams to Enzo Ferrari, as a founder wedded to his racing team and factory, the Briton spoke in a Daily Telegraph column of sadness and relief at the end of an era.
“I absolutely loved working there and yet I think, on balance, it is probably a wise move for the family to be saying goodbye,” said Hill, who left Williams at the end of his title season.
“There has to be a degree of sadness for them, given Formula One was their life for so long, but what was sadder was watching the team struggle.”
Williams have finished 10th for the past two seasons and are now last after seven races. They have scored only one point since 2018.
Last year they even struggled to get their car ready for pre-season testing in Spain, with fears they might not survive.
The team announced last month they had been bought by U.S.-based Dorilton Capital, with deputy principal Claire Williams and her father Frank to leave after Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Hill said Williams appeared to lose momentum when they expanded rapidly after moving to a new factory in 1996 and partnering with BMW in 2000.
“When I raced at Williams, there were 150 people,” he recalled.
“But then it became too unwieldy, the workforce growing to 600 people at some point. The nucleus of the team found itself overwhelmed by the influx of extra staff and it started to show signs of losing direction.”
Hill said Claire Williams, who effectively ran the team, had struggled to turn things around.
“Given a bit of clearance, she might reflect on this sale as the best decision she ever made,” he added.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis
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