Sir Frank Williams, Formula 1 team founder who will forever be remembered as the man who saved F1 from being forgotten by dying at age 79.
Sir Frank Williams, the founder of Formula 1 team “Williams”, has died aged 79. He was involved in an accident in 1986 that left him with brain damage.
In the paddock, Williams and his daughter Claire were well-liked.
At the age of 79, Sir Frank Williams, the founder and former team principal of the Williams Racing Formula One team, passed away.
He made his squad, which bears his name, one of the most successful in the sport.
During his tenure with Williams, the team won nine constructors’ and seven drivers’ championships, dominating the 1980s and 1990s.
After selling Williams to US investors in September 2020, he and his daughter Claire left the sport.
“It is with great regret that the team can announce the death of Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder and former team principal of Williams Racing, at the age of 79,” the Williams team stated in a statement.
“Sir Frank died quietly this morning, accompanied by his family, after being brought to hospital on Friday.
“Today, we remember and honor our much-loved and great leader. Frank was a wonderful person who will be dearly missed. All friends and colleagues are asked to respect the Williams family’s desire for privacy at this time.”
After sustaining a spinal cord injury in an automobile accident in France in 1986, Williams was confined to a wheelchair.
Stefano Domenicali, the president and chief executive of Formula One, paid homage to Williams, calling him a “genuine icon of our sport.”
“He surmounted the most severe of problems in life and struggled every day to win on and off the track,” Domenicali said. He was a much-loved and respected part of the Formula One family, and he will be much missed.
“His remarkable accomplishments and charisma will leave an indelible mark on our sport. At this difficult moment, my sympathies are with the Williams family and friends.”
With Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni at the wheel, the Williams team won their first F1 race at Silverstone in 1979, and the following year, Australian Alan Jones led the firm to the drivers’ and constructors’ crowns for the first time.
Following the death of driver Ayrton Senna in a collision at Imola in 1994, Williams, together with technical director Patrick Head and head designer Adrian Newey, was charged with manslaughter in Italy, although he was acquitted some years later.
The team hasn’t won a championship since Canadian Jacques Villeneuve won the drivers’ title in 1997, and there was an eight-year gap between Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory in a Williams-BMW at the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix and Pastor Maldonado’s surprise victory in Spain in 2012 – the last time a Williams won.
‘A significant element of the sport’s history’
Damon Hill, who won the world championship with the team in 1996, said Williams was a pivotal figure in the sport’s history.
“Frank was an automobile and racing enthusiast. He couldn’t think of anything else he wanted to do “Hill spoke to Sky Sports News about the situation.
“He was really amazing in every way, especially in terms of his commitment to the team. His record will be remembered for a long time.
“Enzo Ferrari is the only person I can think of to compare him to.” He was a huge fan of Formula One and racing in general. Anyone who leads a team would wish to emulate his accomplishments and track record.
“He was a guy who didn’t say much. He could communicate in a variety of languages, but he avoided idle talk. He’s a significant figure in the sport’s history.”
George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, current Williams drivers, also paid their tributes to the former team principal.
“Sir Frank was a really beautiful human being, and I’ll never forget the laughter we had,” Russell remarked.
“To everyone who joined the Williams Racing family and so many others, he was more than a boss; he was a mentor and a friend.”
“RIP Sir Frank Williams,” Canadian Latifi said. Such depressing news. Our sport and our squad have suffered a significant setback.
“It’s been an honor to represent your name on the international scene, and we’ll keep working hard to get the squad back on track.”
Andrew Benson, chief F1 writer
Sir Frank Williams was a legendary Formula One team owner who rose to prominence as a result of his resolve to compete at the top level despite a serious handicap.
Williams was not so much enamored with Formula One as he was obsessed by it. Despite the fact that his health prohibited him from being an active member of the team for the previous several years, he lived in the workplace. As it had always been, the team he built was his life.
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Sir Frank Williams, the founder of Formula 1 team “Williams Grand Prix Engineering” has died aged 79. The cause of death is unknown. Reference: sir frank williams death reason.
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