RIP Sir Frank Williams
Posted on 30th November 2021 at 14:03
The legendary founder of the Williams F1 team, Sir Frank Williams, sadly died on Sunday at the age of 79. Sir Frank led Formula 1 teams which he gave his name too for over 50 years, overcoming adversity and tragedy in order to build his team from an empty carpet warehouse to one of the most successful racing teams that Formula 1 has ever seen.
Sir Frank was born in 1942 and is said to have had a love of racing from a very young age. After unsuccessfully giving racing a go himself, Sir Frank became a mechanic before founding his very own racing team in 1966 named ‘Frank Williams Racing Cars’. The team spent a few years competing F2 and F3 before competing in Formula 1 in 1969. The team initially performed well however, after the tragic loss of his driver and close friend Piers Courage, and as their competitiveness fell away and financial troubles grew, Williams sold the controlling stake of the team in 1976 and later left the team all together.
Nevertheless, Sir Frank was not finished with Formula 1 yet – the year later, he formed ‘Williams Grand Prix Engineering’. His new team went from strength to strength, winning at the British Grand Prix in the following season and then going on to win the world championship in 1980 with Alan Jones behind the wheel. As the team continued to win races and championships, the 1986 season was also looking promising for the Williams team. However, when travelling from pre-season testing to Nice airport, Sir Frank was involved in a very serious car accident which left him fighting for his life. It was initially feared that he may not survive his injuries which had left him a tetraplegic and wheelchair bound but he did, and he was not going to let the incident slow down his success in Formula 1. Back running his team just nine months after his crash, Sir Frank showed how no matter what adversity he faced, he was determined to overcome it – so much that, from 1986 to 1997 became known as the golden period for Williams’ team due to their outstanding success.
After dealing with serious financial troubles, tragic losses of friends/colleagues, as well as a life changing accident himself, Sir Frank led his small, independent team on to win:
114 Grand Prix (Equal to Mercedes' Current Total)
7 Drivers World Titles (With a Different Driver Each Time)
9 Constructors World Titles (Second Only to the Corporate Powerhouse that is Ferrari)
He was a true, dominant force within the sport that he loved so much,
Rest In Peace Sir Frank.
Share this post: