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Becoming Williams team principal "secondary" for 'surprised' Roberts

Becoming Williams team principal "secondary" for 'surprised' Roberts

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Becoming Williams team principal "secondary" for 'surprised' Roberts

Becoming Williams team principal "secondary" for 'surprised' Roberts

Williams acting team principal Simon Roberts believes taking on the role permanently is currently of secondary importance as he focuses on the task of driving the team forward.

The former McLaren stalwart, who spent 16 years with the Woking-based team over two spells, joined Williams earlier this year in the role of managing director.

But following the sale to Dorilton Capital and the decision of the Williams family to leave F1, with Claire Williams departing her role as deputy team principal, Roberts stepped into the breach.

"We were all surprised at the speed of the sale," said Roberts. "We didn’t see that coming at all.

"After that, I wasn’t surprised, really, that Claire stepped down. I’m saddened by it, I really wish she could’ve stayed but I understand why she feels that’s the right thing to do.

"And everybody’s going to miss her loads and we all just wish her and her family well. She’s done a great job getting us here.

"She got us through the Concorde [Agreement], the sale and all that. We just want to do the right thing now for Frank and her and keep the spirit and keep it moving forward and start working with our new owners."

Roberts has conceded that being offered the role of team principal, even if only in an acting capacity, was another surprise.

Asked if he was expecting it, Roberts replied: "Absolutely not! I came in as managing director, I was pleased to do that and take that role. But things change very quickly. This is Formula 1, who knows what’s around the corner.

"We’re all resilient. Even looking at where the team has come from, where they are currently, we’re just in a great place to start.

"That’s what I came in to do. This is a surprise but I’m glad and I’m pleased. I just want to do the right thing, hopefully working with the rest of the team moving it all up."

Roberts, though, is far from considering the position on a permanent basis, adding: "I haven’t discussed it at all.

"I’ve met the new owners, they’re great, but that’s not really the focus. The focus is keeping stability in the team, working with everybody who’s here and just start to move it forward.

"That [the position] is kind of secondary really. We haven’t discussed it at all."

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