Sir Frank Williams, co-founder and boss of the Williams F1 team, won the prestigious Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event yesterday evening.
The award, which recognises ‘achievement in the face of adversity’, was presented to Sir Frank at Birmingham’s LG Arena yesterday. The 68-year-old, who has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his neck in a road accident in 1986, has led the Williams team to 16 World Championships and 113 Grand Prix victories, despite his injuries. Williams rank as the third most successful Formula One team in the history of the sport, behind only Ferrari and McLaren.
On collecting his award, Sir Frank commented, “It was an unforgettable evening. Mine has been a great journey, one I’d love to do again if I was younger. I wouldn’t try and do anything differently, except perhaps try and avoid the accidents. I wouldn't have received this award without the assistance and energy of everyone at Williams, especially Patrick, and, of course, my wife and family, so my thanks go to them.”
This award is added to the collection of accolades that Williams has received, including a CBE in 1987, and then his knighthood for services to motorsport in 1999. He is also a rare foreign recipient of France’s Legion d’honneur.
Williams’ award was the only recognition that F1 received at last nights’ ceremony. Jockey AP McCoy took the main award ahead of darts player Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and heptathlete Jessica Ennis.