Sir Frank Williams: Team Owner and principal passes away aged 79.
By George Ferreira
Sir Frank Williams was the founder and former team principal of the Williams F1 team has passed away Sunday the 28th of November 2021 with the cause still unknown.
Sir Frank Williams founded his F1 team, Williams in 1977 in a partnership with Head and went on to lead as owner and principal one of the most decorated teams in F1 history. Sir Frank Williams was born in South Shields a coastal town at the mouth of the River Tyne in 1942 and from an early age dabbled in motorsport racing whilst also being a mechanic. In 1966 Sir Frank would find the Frank Williams Racing Cars which mainly participated in Formula 2 and Formula 3. Frank Williams tried to join Formula 1 but would struggle with various less than successful partnerships such as Brabham and De Tomaso a company best known for their De Tomaso Pantera a road car which had Italian style with a Ford engine. Sir Frank Williams was always determined to become a success in Formula one, and in 1980, Williams racing driver Alan Jones would deliver the team its first championship with six more championships followed under six different driver which were: Keke Rosberg in 1982, father of Niko Rosberg, Nelson Piquet in 1987, Nigel Mansell in 1992, Alain Prost in 1993, Damon Hill in 1996 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997. These championship wins saw Williams become one of the most dominant teams in the sport aided by owner and principal Sir Frank and an amazing roster of championship winning drivers. Sir Frank managed the team for 43 years even after a serious driving accident in 1986 left him a tetraplegic, Sir Frank always said his recovery was greatly aided by his wife Virginia
Sir Frank Williams stepped down from the Williams Board before the 2013 season however would continue as team principal all the way up to September 2020 where he and his daughter Claire Williams stepped down from Principal duties after the Williams team was acquired by Dorilton Capital the month prior. Jost Capito a German motorsport manager and current CEO as well as team principal of Williams stated that Sir Frank was “a legend and icon of our sport, his passing marks the end of an era for our team and for the sport of Formula 1. He was one of a kind and a true pioneer.” Various current and former drivers paid tribute to Sir Frank with his personal favourite driver Lewis Hamilton saying on twitter “Sir Frank Williams was one of the kindest people I had the pleasure of meeting in this sport. What he achieved is something truly special. Until his last days I know he remained a racer and a fighter at heart. His legacy will live on forever.”
Sir Frank Williams can and should be considered the greatest team owner of all time, he didn’t just love F1 he was addicted to the sport, he was able to guide Williams to compete at the highest level and win even with a severe disability. Whilst his health kept his away in the last couple of years he was still a active voice at the Williams factory showing that the team he created was his life and will forever be what he is remembered for.