Jenson Button was a target for Williams before announcing his Formula One retirement.
Claire Williams has revealed she would have "loved" to have seen Jenson Button driving for Williams in 2017.
McLaren driver Button announced he would be taking a sabbatical on Saturday, signing a two-year contract that leaves the door open for a return in 2018.
Williams are on the lookout for a new driver following the news that Felipe Massa will retire at the end of the season, and deputy team principal Williams was keen on recruiting the 2009 world champion.
"Everyone knows that we were quite interested in Jenson - and why wouldn't you be? He's a great talent and he would be a great driver for anyone to have in their team," Williams told Sky Sports F1.
"Saturday's announcement is a real shame for the sport and comes off the back of Felipe.
"We're losing two great drivers from the sport, legends. I would have loved to have Jenson in this team, but unfortunately it didn't work out. I wish him all the best.
"I would have loved to have seen him in a Williams... a British driver in a British team has been a dream of mine. You never know, one day."
Button made his Formula One debut for Williams in 2000 and will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next season.