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Formula One mourns Frank Williams

After the death of the British leader, founder and former owner of the Williams Racing team, a deep void was created in the premier class of motorsport .

 Frank williams

We are talking about a man who made a mark in motorsports more than 40 years ago with countless records and up to seven different champions, but above all, overcoming many obstacles in his career. Photo: Wikimedia-LyndseyWF1

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: La Fórmula Uno antes y después de Frank Williams

Frank Williams died on November 28 and Formula One will certainly not be the same again. We are talking about a man who made a mark in motorsports more than 40 years ago with countless records and up to seven different champions, but above all, a person that overcome many obstacles in his career.

His greatest achievement was to place his team in the fourth step of the top winners of the World Championship after founding it in 1977 together with Patrick Head, and obtaining 16 titles, seven drivers, and the remaining nine from builders. His team's best season was undoubtedly 1982, winning 11 of the 15 scheduled races.

But the achievements are many more. For example, it is the third team with the most Grand Prix disputed in history, 756, only behind the two historic Ferrari and McLaren, with 1030 and 904 respectively. Furthermore, as mentioned above, his is the fourth-most victorious team with 114 for a 15.1 percent ERA, the third with the most podiums (312) and the fourth with the most poles (128).

Williams' winning streaks were dominant, such as the seven straight wins in 1993 from the Canadian Grand Prix to the Italian Grand Prix , being the fourth team with the most doubles at the end of the races (33) and the 15 pole mark in 16 races between 1992 and 1993. In fact,  the team has the most consecutive poles in history (24) between 1992 and 1993, one more than Mercedes (23) between 2014 and 2015.

Their drivers and titles

There were seven of them: Alan Jones (1980), Keke Rosberg (1982), Nelson Piquet (1987), Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997), but they also trained two South Americans, the Brazilian Ayrton Senna (1994) and the Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, part of this prestigious team between 2001 and 2004.

With the exception of 1982, a year with 11 winners in 16 races, in the rest of the seasons Williams also reached the first position in the Constructors' World Championship. Thus, the team has a total of 9 windings, adding the 1981, 1986 and 1994 campaigns to the previous ones. Only Ferrari, with 16 titles, is ahead in the historical classification.

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Few teams have the luxury of having in their ranks two of the greatest drivers in history, such as Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, perhaps two of the four greatest along with Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. However, Williams had them. 

An iron personality

What many emphasize about Sir Frank Williams is that he never allowed himself to be defeated despite any adversity and this may have to do with his birth in 1942 in the middle of World War II and with his origin, since his father was a fighter and belonged to the Air Force. His passion has always been that of racing cars.

His working life began as a food vendor, but he never lost track of his passion, and after getting some contacts thanks to the world of Motorsport, he managed to work in a dealership and from there, gradually, dedicate himself to what he liked. .

In 1966 he founded his first team, Frank Williams Racing Cars, which competed in Formula 3 and Formula 2 championships until reaching the top flight in 1969. At that time, he bought an unpromising second-hand Brabham BT26 which, however, awarded two podiums for the team, in Monaco and the United States thanks to the British pilot Piers Courage, who died in 1970.

The dream became a reality for the passionate young man from South Shields who with his perseverance managed to lead the most precious era of Formula 1, the 80s and 90s, with his 16 pennants already mentioned, under the exact name of Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Thus, Williams finally has a total of 3,578 points to date, being the fifth in history behind Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull. Without a doubt, data to be more than proud of, and to which Sir Frank Williams contributed a lot between 1977 and 2020.

Victory over life

In his life, Williams had to face very painful events. The first and most influential was the one that left him in a wheelchair on March 8, 1986, leaving the Paul Ricard circuit (Le Castellet), after witnessing a test of the FW11. 

That event, far from softening, hardened Williams, who recovered quickly and continued to be the visible face of a team in which he implanted the philosophy: winning above all else, protected by the fortune he was amassing to power cars like the FW14B.

According to Car, Williams never forgave Senna for passing away in one of his cars and, in fact, in the words of his daughter Claire, he was always sad after that incident, which is why he preferred not to speak about the topic. Still, he moved on, as he did in March 2013 when he lost his wife Virginia.

That same year, the regulation change sparked the beginning of a hybrid era in which Williams took advantage of the right footing to consolidate as second place behind the unbeatable Mercedes.

In 2020 and perhaps as a preamble to what would happen a year later, the Williams family had to say goodbye to their great life project, by selling the team to an American fund, which, for the moment, seems interested in maintaining the legacy of competitiveness of the Williams.

 

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. pic.twitter.com/NDIwIvzZCl

— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 28, 2021