F1 in Schools™ the leading global educational initiative is delighted to welcome Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams F1, to its roster of high profile Patrons from the Formula 1™ community.
F1 in Schools is privileged to have an illustrious line up of Patrons, with Claire joining Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO of Sauber F1; Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal; Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer of current World Championship winning team, Red Bull Racing; Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team principal, Ross Brawn; popular Scuderia Ferrari race engineer, Rob Smedley and BBC Radio 5 Live presenter, James Allen.
Claire says of linking with F1 in Schools as a Patron, "I am delighted to have become a Patron for F1 in Schools. The tasks that all participating students have to go through to establish their own Formula One team during the Challenge not only exposes them to the type of work required for creating, producing and running a team such as Williams, but also equips them with a variety of life skills. It will be fascinating for us to see first-hand what the designers, engineers and marketeers of the future come up with year after year."
Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools, welcomes Claire as a Patron, saying, “We are very grateful to Claire for agreeing to support F1 in Schools and as a role model for aspiring F1 professionals, I know that she will be an inspiration to all our F1 in Schools participants. We value the role that Claire can play with her wide-ranging experience within Formula 1 and her natural ability to engage with young people who are passionate about forging a career in the industry - especially the growing number of girls that are engaged in the challenge – over 35% now!”
Denford adds, “For the last 4 years Williams F1 have kindly taken ownership of the ‘Verbal Presentation Award’ at the F1 in Schools World Finals event and hosted the winning team of this award in the F1 paddock on a number of occasions, and we’re pleased to be extending our association with the team with Claire becoming a Patron of F1 in Schools.”
Claire entered the sport following further education. After graduating from Newcastle University in 1999 with a degree in Politics, Claire began her career in the motorsport industry when she joined Silverstone Circuit as a press officer in 2000. Growing up in the sport, it is perhaps unsurprising that Claire would eventually enter the family business. Working in the Race Office during school holidays, Claire was a regular behind the scenes at Williams from an early age before joining the team full time in 2002 in the role of Communications Officer. She was promoted to the role of Head of Communications in 2010, and was duly responsible for all internal and external communications surrounding Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC.
After Williams floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in March 2011, Claire took on the position of Head of Investor Relations to supplement her role in the communications team. On the 1st April 2012 Claire was appointed Director of Marketing and Communications, and took a place on the company board. In this role Claire has taken the lead on partner acquisitions, marketing and communications.
In March 2013, Claire stepped up to the position of Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams F1. In this role Claire works alongside Founder and Team Principal Sir Frank Williams to play a pivotal role in the day to day running and long term development of the race team.
F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team which is commissioned to design, construct and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model built from a block of balsa wood and powered by a compressed air cylinder. Each team of between three and six students creates a ‘pit’ display and showcases their work in developing their race car, with a verbal and written presentation for the judges. The teams then race their model car on a specially designed 20 metre test track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second. The Challenge, in its thirteenth year, was introduced to the UK in 2000 and since this time has expanded to over 40 countries, reaching over 20 million students taking part around the globe.
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