Claudia Schwarz

F1: Williams F1 faces lawsuit from former marketing exec

The Williams F1 team faces a new challenge in court. Claudia Schwarz, a former marketing executive at Williams Racing, has launched a $100 million lawsuit in the United States over claims that she was forced out of the team.

Schwarz claims that a mystery investor in Dorilton became unhappy with Williams’s performances on the track and demanded a “drastic reduction” in the racing budget. This led to Darren Fultz, the team chief executive, being dismissed and a decision to “get rid of all marketing suppliers”.

She claims that Williams tried to destroy her reputation and publicly humiliate her, by leaking details of an alleged affair with a senior member to an industry magazine.

Williams however, is separately seeking $6.9 million that they claim was fraudulently received by Schwarz, using the company credit card for luxury expenses.

Former team principal Jost Capito’s role remains unclear in this, but it’s likely to be what caused his exit at the end of 2022.

They accuse her of “unprofessional and egregious conduct on a near-daily basis, creating a toxic workplace culture and terrorizing staff”.

It claims there were more than 30 examples of “improper spending” on her company credit card, including bills at the Park Lane hotel, central London, the Soho Grand hotel in Manhattan and the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal.

Allegedly, other employees claimed she “displayed ‘sociopathic’ and ‘narcissistic’ tendencies” which created an “environment of fear and blame”.

Its legal claim states: “In a scene reminiscent of the movie The Devil Wears Prada, Schwarz once unleashed on her personal assistant, screaming at her because Schwarz could not bring her dogs into the cabin of a commercial plane for a flight from Miami to London.”

Schwarz is also accused of funneling work to suppliers with whom she had a personal or intimate connection, including her husband, Axel Ludwig, “despite his exorbitant fees and limited qualifications”.

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