Sir Frank Williams, founder and former team principal of the Williams Formula One team passed away over the weekend. He once ran the remnants of an early motorsport venture from a phone booth. Along with a brilliant young engineer, Patrick Head, Williams would go on to found Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. The team was at its peak in the 1980s and 1990s. Alain Prost won his 4th driver’s title driving the ultra dominant FW15C, the most technically advanced Formula One car of the time, perhaps all time. Jacques Villeneuve won the team’s last drivers championship in 1997, after which began a gradual phase of decline, a seemingly irreversible life at the back of the grid.
Williams Grand Prix Engineering won nine constructors’ titles, seven drivers’ titles and 114 race wins. Frank Williams sold his beloved, life-consuming company in 2020. As he begins his new journey he will receive many plaudits for the journey he made during his lifetime. He was a pioneer, a shrewd businessman, ruthless when needed, generous. Above all, he was Sir Frank Williams and his legacy will leave an erasable imprint on Formula One for generations to come.