- Sir Frank and his daughter and former deputy team principal Claire Williams.

Sir Frank Williams - F1 Legend has passed away aged 79

The longest-serving team principal in the sport has sadly died.

7w ago
11K

Lauded as an inspirational figurehead in the sport, Frank Williams lead the Williams team through many of its trials and tribulations in the world of F1 and marked 50 years the team boss in 2019. His leadership saw the team that bore his name bag seven drivers' titles and nine constructors' championships.

Sir Frank Williams had a brief foray into the sport in the 60s as a driver and mechanic before moving to a managerial position at his initial team Frank Williams Racing Cars. He funded his passion for the sport by working as a travelling groceries salesman on the side. Running a Brabham chassis in 1969, driver Piers Courage earned two 2nd place finishes at Watkins Glenn and in Monaco. Battling against the might of far bigger teams, often running FWRC from a phonebox after his landline had been cut due to unpaid bills, the team soldiered on until 1977 when he left the team after it was essentially bought out by a Canadian firm. He and Patrick Head set up a new base of operations near Didcot in Oxfordshire and started Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the team we know to this day.

Reggazoni in the FW07

Reggazoni in the FW07

The team would go winless until Clay Regazzoni drove his FW07 to a win at the British Grand Prix in 1979 and their first double came the year after with Alan Jones as they bagged the Constructors' and Drivers' championships.

Bad luck struck in 1986 when Frank was injured in a car accident in France. He and the team's sponsorship manager Peter Windsor were heading from Paul Riccard to Nice Airport after watching the FW11 testing. Frank was heading back to London to compete in a half marathon the next day. The incident sadly rendered him quadriplegic, but this didn't stop him from commanding his team to the top of the F1 standings several more times.

Williams was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 1986, and went on to receive a knighthood in 1999. He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour by France, for his work with Renault F1's engines.

He leaves behind a legacy of grit and determination. A man who shaped much of the modern F1 world. RIP Sir Frank.

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Comments (11)

  • A great man, a great loss - thanks for all you did Frank, RIP. Condolences to the whole Williams family

      1 month ago
  • One of the greats, condolences to the family and team, Godspeed to you Sir Frank you will be missed

      1 month ago
  • I am surprised he lived as long as he did.

    Good engineer.

      1 month ago
  • A true pioneer.

      1 month ago
  • I am extremely new to F1 however, since I began watching the sport in 2020, I was a fan of Williams namely due to the history of the team. Reading the story of Sir Frank Williams is what really caused me to become a fan of the team and while I am saddened by his death, I am happy his legacy lives on. Hopefully, we will see another Williams championship one day.

    Thank you Sir Frank!

      1 month ago
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