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Williams puts daughter on board as he approaches F1 twilight

updated 1:05 PM EST, Fri March 2, 2012
Frank Williams is tetraplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair since a car crash in 1986.
Frank Williams is tetraplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair since a car crash in 1986.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Williams founder Frank Williams will step down from the team's board next month
  • Williams founded the British team in 1977 and the marque has won nine constructors' titles
  • His daughter Claire will move onto the board as director of marketing and communications
  • Williams have not won a grand prix since Juan Pablo Montayo's victory in Brazil in 2004

(CNN) -- Frank Williams has been a integral part of one of Formula One's most successful teams since forming it 35 years ago, but he is now starting to pass on his legacy.

The Williams F1 boss, who turns 70 this month, announced on Friday that he is standing down from the British team's board and that he will be replaced by his daughter Claire.

Williams, who is tetraplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair since a car accident in 1986, said the time had come for him to hand control over to the next generation. However, he will remain as team principal and keep his majority shareholding.

"I have decided to signal the next stage in the gradual but inevitable process of handing over the reins to the next generation by stepping down from the board at the end of this month," he said in a statement on Williams' website.

It is no secret that Claire is my daughter but I am proud to say that she has fought hard to earn this appointment
Frank Williams

"It is no secret that Claire is my daughter but I am proud to say that she has fought hard to earn this appointment and, of all the battles she has had to fight, the prejudices of her father were not the least challenging.

"I shall be looking to Claire to represent the Williams family on the board and I know that she will work tirelessly."

As well as her board role, Claire Williams will start work as director of marketing and communications on April 1 in the place of the departing Dominic Reilly.

Williams became the first F1 team to float on the stock exchange in March 2011 and the team has a rich heritage in the elite division of motorsport.

But despite winning nine constructors' titles -- a record bettered only by Ferrari -- and seven drivers' championships, the marque which once employed legendary racers such as Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna has stuttered in recent years.

The last time Williams won a grand prix was in 2004, when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya drove to victory in Brazil. Williams finished 2011 ninth in the constructors' standings after collecting just five points.

Senna's nephew Bruno will make his debut for the team alongside Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 18.

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