Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says Liberty Media must ensure Formula 1’s future is protected, amid continued discussions over the direction the sport is taking.

F1 is heading into a year of crunch talks over its future landscape, with a new set of regulations set to be drawn up for 2021 and beyond. Following its takeover last year, new owners Liberty Media have been working to future-proof the sport, placing emphasis on the importance of lowering costs and increasing competition. 

An initial blueprint of engine regulations for post-2021 was revealed in late 2017 and was met by scepticism by leading teams Mercedes and Ferrari, with Scuderia president Sergio Marchionne warning the iconic Italian outfit could quit F1 if conditions were not re-evaluated. 

The start of pre-season testing has reignited F1’s political battle, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner claiming Mercedes and Ferrari are “working as one team” to shape the future of F1 for their own benefit.

“I think that’s a responsibility of Liberty in order to manage that situation, trying to find a solution that works for everybody - which is a tough situation,” Williams said when asked about the situation.

“I’m pleased I’m not in charge but I’m sure that everybody has what’s best for the sport at heart and not individual gain and benefit to look at the future of this sport and protect it for future generations. 

“That’s everybody’s responsibility around the table. In order to do that we believe that financial restraints have to come into play for 2021 and beyond.

“I think the boundaries are somewhat blurred between the two [Liberty and the FIA], but I think that as long as people are working together then does it matter if it’s the FIA or Liberty’s responsibility? I think it’s everybody’s responsibility to come to the table and to talk about the future of the sport.”

British squad Williams is well-respected in the paddock, having picked up a combined total of 16 constructors’ and drivers’ world championships as an independent team across its 40-year tenure in F1. 

But Williams warned that her team - operating on a budget of £120 million per annum - simply cannot compete against the might of manufacturers wielding budgets three times larger than the Grove-based outfit, and has backed the introduction of a mooted cost cap.

“We all know they are spending an inordinate amount of money in order to get these engines. But these engines are important, they are hybrid technology which is important for the sport to be using. 

“But if we were able to come up with a situation whereby we were still able to talk to the environmental issues but to be financially conscious, I think that would be a positive outcome and one that the sport needs. 

“When it comes to cost caps and budgets, we are fully supportive of a cost cap and budget control in F1. I’ve always said that spending £300million a year just to get two race cars to the grid is a scary amount of money and it’s not sustainable for our future. It’s certainly not sustainable for independent teams like ours. 

"I think the fans of our sport want to see a much more competitive grid and that can only be the outcome of a more financially balanced sport.”

When asked if Liberty needs to take a braver approach than the FIA has done in the past, Williams replied: “I think it’s difficult. This sport is very political as everybody knows and we are all here to protect our teams but we all must remember as well that we are here to protect our sport as well.” 


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