Death of Sir Frank Williams, the man who created one of the most successful Formula One teams of all time

Torbay Weekly

Sir Frank Williams, an icon of Formula One, has died aged 79.

Sir Frank, founder and principal of the Williams Formula One Racing Team until 2020, created one of the most successful Formula One teams of all time.

Their first race was the Spanish Grand Prix in 1977 and when Jacques Villeneuve won the British Grand Prix in 1997, it was the William’s team 100th victory.

They became one of only four teams that have achieved that landmark, joining Ferrari, fellow British team McLaren, and Mercedes.

Between 1980 and 1997, Williams won nine Constructors’ Championships, a record which stood until Ferrari surpassed this in 2000.

Many famous drivers drove for Williams, including British winners of the Formula One Driver’s Championship, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jenson Button.

Other drivers include Australia’s Alan Jones, Finland’s Keke Rosberg, Columbia’s Juan Pablo Montoya, Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve, France’s Alan Prost, Brazil’s Nelson Picquet and Ayrton Senna and Italy’s Ricardo Patrese.

Nigel Mansell was known to the South West as he built a home near Exeter as well as the Woodbury Park Golf Course and Club. Jenson Button is from Frome in  Somerset.

In March 1986, Frank Williams was returning from pre-season testing at the Paul Ricard circuit and on the way to the airport he was involved in an accident which left him paralysed.

He did not return to the pit lane for almost a year.

Frank Williams was passionate about motor racing and had the respect of all his team’s drivers but he formed other companies including Williams Hybrid Power which developed electromechanical flywheels for mobile applications for buses, trams and high-performance endurance racing cars.

A hybrid system with a spinning composite rotor to store energy, these flywheels help a vehicle save fuel and ultimately reduce its CO2 emissions.

The Go-Ahead Group, one of the UK’s biggest transport operators, has used these flywheels in their buses. Williams Hybrid Power was sold to GKN in April 2014.

This is further evidence of how motor racing has contributed to motoring over the years.

UK car output suffered its worst October for 65 years as a result of the chips shortage and Makoto Uchida, the boss of Nissan, warned the Omicron variant could add to the problem and said it was too early to say when deliveries, and therefore finished cars, will return to normal.

Nissan, who have a factory in the UK have already warned their dealers of shortages of product throughout 2022.

Not only cars rely on microchips but washing machines, smartphones, laptops and webcams as a result of more people working from home.

This suggests used car prices will remain at their current high levels throughout 2022 and shortages of nearly new cars will add to the problem.

Covid is still having a major effect on our lives.

Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.