Claire Williams says family team's current situation is 'soul destroying'

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SILVERSTONE, U.K. -- Claire Williams says it has been difficult to watch her father's team drop down the Formula One pecking order so dramatically in recent years.

Williams -- one of the most successful teams on the grid, with nine constructors' and seven drivers' titles to its name -- is currently bottom of the Formula One championship after nine races. The team's prospects for the rest of the year look bleak: at the last race, back-up driver Robert Kubica named the car's colour scheme as its strongest feature, while Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll laughed off similar questions on Thursday ahead of the British Grand Prix.

It represents a major drop down the order for the Grove team, which finished third in 2014 and 2015 and then slipped to fifth for the last two seasons. Deputy principal Williams, who oversees the day-to-day operations in place of her father, team founder Sir Frank, admits the last few months have been tough.

"For me personally, this is very difficult, it's heart-breaking and it's a little bit soul destroying," she said on Friday. "This is mostly my family's team and it's been within our family for four decades now and the sacrifices our family have made for the team over the years have been great - but we've also had an enormous reward and feel enormously privileged as a family to be involved in this amazing sport."

Williams insists the current situation is temporary.

"I took on this role as DTP back in 2013. I felt that I could contribute and I think we've done some good work to turn the team around and take us back to where we wanted to be. This year hasn't been great for us but it is a blip. We had in 2014 and 2015 two third places and in 2016 and 2017 two fifths, and we must look at this is just a trough.

"Every team in any sport goes through those moments. Personally for me it's incredibly difficult to see the team go through this. We all hold our hands up and take responsibility and not least I have a part to play in that and we must all look at ourselves and make sure we're doing the best job that we possibly can for this team because this team deserves to stay in Formula One. This is all we do.

"We're in Formula One because we love going motor racing and we have to make sure that we create a world at Williams that keeps our team viable in this sport and relevant in this sport and still maintains our status in this sport. That's hugely important to me."