F1 team founder, and principal, Frank Williams died Sunday at the age of 79 after being admitted to the hospital on Friday, according to the Williams family and team.
Williams never stopped overcoming adversity or challenges put in his path. In 2019 he became the longest-serving F1 team principal, after having run two racing teams over the course of 50 years.
He’ll forever be remembered as the icon in F1 who sustained a spinal cord injury in a car crash in 1986, which left him unable to walk.
Williams remained in charge of day-to-day operations of Williams Racing, which he founded in 1977, after his recovery until stepping down in 2012 from his responsibilities and the board. His daughter, Claire Williams, took over day-to-day operations when her father stepped down and took his place on the board of directors. Though, Claire’s official title was Deputy Team Principal, and Frank Williams retained the Team Principal title.
In August 2021 Williams Racing was sold to United States-based investment firm Dorilton Capital, though the investment firm took only a minority stake in the related Williams Advanced Engineering business. A month after the sale to Dorilton Capital Claire Williams stepped down from her role as Deputy Team Principal, and effectively ended the Williams’ involvement with the team bearing the family’s name.
Jost Capito, CEO and current Team Principal, said in a statement posted to Williams Racing website on Sunday, “His (Sir Frank Williams’) 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.”
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Williams Racing is one of the oldest, and most successful, racing teams in F1 history, with Frank Williams leading the team to a total of 16 World Championships. But the team became a shadow of its former self with zero wins since 2012. Williams finished last in the 2019 constructors’ championship, scoring just one point.
The family asked for those wishing to pay tribute to Frank Wiliams to make donations to the Spinal Injuries Association, or to place flowers at the entrance to the team’s headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire.