James Matthews, who married the younger sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in 2017 and is the older brother of reality TV star Spencer Matthews, is one of three new directors of the Williams team following its takeover by American investment firm Dorilton Capital.
An announcement ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix confirmed that both Sir Frank Williams and his daughter Claire Williams will step down from their respective roles as team principal and deputy team principal following Sunday’s race at Monza, with the team name also set to be replaced after 43 years on the Formula One grid.
There has been a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the identity of those behind the Dorilton takeover, with former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone forced to deny claims that he was involved after full ownership of the team was transferred to the Dorilton-owned BCE Limited fund - with the letters matching up to the initials of Bernard Charles Ecclestone.
Claire Williams denied Ecclestone’s involvement last week, but refused to divulge any clues towards the identity of the new owners, for which the reasons why are now abundantly clear due to the link to the Royal Family.
In a statement released by Williams on Thursday, it was confirmed that Dorilton co-founders Matthew Savage and Darren Fultz will be joined on the board by Matthews, who raced professionally for the well-known Manor Motorsport team during the 1990s in both British Formula Three and British Formula Renault.
“Williams Grand Prix Engineering today announces that Matthew Savage, Darren Fultz and James Matthews will make up the company’s new Board of Directors following Dorilton Capital’s acquisition of the team that was announced on 21 August,” a team statement read.
“Matthew Savage is the chairman of Dorilton Capital. Dorilton is a private investment firm headquartered in the United States and Matthew has led the team since its inception in 2009. Prior to founding Dorilton, Matthew was with Rothschild for 22 years in both London and New York advising clients regarding M&A and restructuring transactions.
“Darren Fultz co-founded Dorilton Capital in 2009 and became CEO in 2018. Prior to this he held positions with Rothschild where he provided corporate finance and M&A advice and with C3i and ZS Associates where he provided sales and marketing strategy and analytics advice. Darren sits on the Board of Directors at all of Dorilton’s portfolio companies.
“James Matthews is the CEO of Eden Rock Group, an investment advisory firm headquartered in London that was established in 2001. James is a former British racing driver and the co-founders of Eden Rock have a background in motorsports spanning more than 30 years.”
The takeover has been described as a move to secure the future of the Williams team, albeit which will be rebranded for the remainder of the season as the iconic racing name disappears from the grid. Dorilton were keen to pay tribute to the Williams legacy, given more than 40 years of success and competition has gone before this weekend’s final outing at Monza.
“The new Board recognises and appreciates the importance of retaining Williams’ heritage and culture and will continue to work with the senior management to leverage its capabilities to return it to racing competitively,” the statement added.
British driver George Russell will continue alongside Candian Nicholas Latifi this season in the team’s efforts to score their first points of 2020, and both expressed their shock with the sudden nature of the announcement, which came on the eve of first practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
“"I wouldn't be where I am today without Frank and Claire,” Russell said.
"They gave me my shot in F1, like they have done for so many drivers, engineers, mechanics and countless others over the years. Thank you for everything. We'll keep driving like hell to honour the Williams name."