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Sir Frank Williams says he understands Toto Wolff's decision to leave his team and join Mercedes-Benz as its new Executive Director, explaining that he was never going to deny the Austrian a 'once in a lifetime opportunity' with the German marque.
Williams, who appointed Wolff as one of the team's Executive Directors in July of last year, says the 41-year-old provided vital support and assistance throughout the 2012 Formula 1 campaign and has wished him well for his new role at Mercedes.
"I would like to thank Toto for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team during his time as a Director of the Company," said Williams, whose team also parted ways with Chairman Adam Parr and Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan last year. "He was a key support to me as Executive Director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend. However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often. Toto has a long history with them and I certainly was not going to stand in the way of him accepting this once in a lifetime opportunity."
Williams went on to explain that despite the departure of Wolff, who will continue as a shareholder, a strong executive group is in place to safeguard the Grove-based team's future.
"Toto will retain his shareholding in Williams and will always have a place at Grove but make no mistake; we will fight him hard on the racetrack!" Williams commented. "I am sure he will be a strong asset for Mercedes and on behalf of the whole team I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.
"I’m lucky to have a very professional group of people around me and the company’s Executive Committee will continue the work they have been doing to ensure a successful future for the business."
Williams will field Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas in 2013. The Venezuelan claimed the outfit's first victory in eight seasons at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, while Bottas steps up from his former test and reserve role to replace Bruno Senna.
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