Formula 1: Williams owner Frank Williams dies, aged 79

F1 driver and driver’s trainer

Long-serving Formula One team owner Frank Williams has died, aged 79.

Williams built his own team after making his fortune as a coal and oil trader and sold it to MCCR International in 2016.

“On behalf of the whole Williams team, I would like to announce the passing of one of the great men of motorsport, Mr Frank Williams,” said team principal Sir Frank Williams.

Media playback is not supported on this device Singapore Grand Prix 2000: Williams win for Williams – speed cameras rapped down

“He will be missed by us all and he leaves a huge legacy to his family and to the sport he loved so dearly.”

Born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and at the age of 20 working for the company his father ran, Frank graduated to racing GT cars and their motorsport engineers.

He financed his first Formula 1 entry in 1961 and in that era almost invariably took his cars with him to the track.

After gaining a job as a race engineer with Williams in 1962, he was promoted to engineering director and in 1964 drove his first race in Belgium.

He took over the team from founder Sir Frank Williams in 1970 and by 1973 he owned it and drove his own team to victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

He also won the European championship with Williams that year and continued winning the championship with them in Belgium and Canada the following years.

Williams provided driver and driver’s trainer Paul Surber in 1970.

He started his team again in 1982, winning a second drivers’ title with Nigel Mansell in 1985 and a third with Nelson Piquet.

His team made a comeback in 2007 after some struggles but it was declared bankrupt at the end of that season and the team renamed as Williams Racing Ltd.

Williams Racing are owners of the HRT Formula One team.

In 2010, MCCR bought Williams out of bankruptcy after 11 years of running it as a team owned by Frank Williams.

Frank Williams’ many teams

Williams team in the Formula 1 world championship

1960: Back in Formula 1. Unsuccessful but critical to sport’s start

1962: First F1 team from the UK. Won Monaco, Belgium and UK GP titles. Celebrated in showstopper F1 cars.

1963: First F1 team to win driver’s crown. Anthony Davidson steered British team to three world titles in a row.

1963: Mark Webber carried new team name to Brazil GP victory.

1966: First F1 team to have a director in charge of team running in all three series – GP2, GT3 and the main F1 grand prix.

1968: Williams completed five years in F1. First team to win four races in a season.

1970: Won championship in his own team. Success with Mansell led to retirement. Used to own Mercedes.

1971: The team again won drivers’ title with Piquet, despite intense rivalry with Alan Jones. Return to Mercedes ran into financial trouble and forced team to revert to Williams.

1972: Separate team renamed again.

1972: Last F1 team to have a boss managing all three championship series. Can win GP3, GT3 and then IndyCars. Yet to win IndyCar race.

1973: Return of Williams Racing in all three series.

1974: Return to F1 was mired in controversy. Alan Jones dominated in the same year that team also had a bad season. Return to Williams again.

1979: Returned to GP2 with Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve.

1981: Return to F1, renamed Williams with Renault engines.

1982: Relegated in first year, won French GP. Same year team declared bankrupt, forced to switch to Sky Team in 1977.

1983: Relegated again, less successful than the previous season.

1984: Relegated in again. In 1983 Williams named in fan survey as the worst F1 team in history.

1985: Mansell became first driver’s winner in 38 races for Williams. It was Mansell’s third F1 title.

1986: Williams won drivers’ title for second year in a row with Nigel Mansell. Returned to Mercedes engines and struggled until the early 1990s.

1988: Returned to F1 for last time in 1985. Failed again.

1990: Williams won one race. Dies at home in 1995 at the age of 77.

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