The world of Formula One and motorsport in general was left mourning one of the great privateer racing bosses, after Sir Frank Williams passed away at the age of 79.
Having founded the team bearing his own name in 1977, Clay Regazzoni netted the first of many F1 victories for the famous outfit that would go on to win nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles and become one of the great teams in F1 history.
Despite suffering a spinal cord injury in a car crash in France in 1986 that almost ended his life, Williams was determined to lead the team that he loved before recently handing over the reins to daughter Claire.
“It is with great sadness that on behalf of the Williams family, the team can confirm the death of Sir Frank Williams CBE, Founder and Former Team Principal of Williams Racing, at the age of 79,” read a team statement. “After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank, passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.
“Today we pay tribute to our much loved and inspirational figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed. We request that all friends and colleagues respect the Williams family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”
Jost Capito, CEO and Team Principal added: “The Williams Racing team is truly saddened by the passing of our founder Sir Frank Williams. 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.
“Despite considerable adversity in his life, he led our team to 16 World Championships making us one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport. His values including integrity, teamwork and a fierce independence and determination, remain the core ethos of our team and are his legacy, as is the Williams family name under which we proudly race.
“Our thoughts are with the Williams family at this difficult time.”