Williams Racing will go into this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with sorrow in their hearts after the death of Team Founder and long-time Team Principal Sir Frank Williams earlier this week at the age of seventy-nine.
Sir Frank only stepped away from the team midway through 2020 when the Williams family sold the team to Dorilton Capital, but his legacy and dedication to the team and Formula 1 through immense difficulties will never be forgotten.
He left the team with them having won one-hundred and fourteen races, nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championships, a remarkable record for an independent team.
Current Williams driver George Russell says the team are determined to mark Sir Frank’s passing with a strong weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, although it will be a solemn weekend for all at Williams.
“It’s with a great sadness that we head to Saudi Arabia this weekend following the passing of Sir Frank, but as a team we are determined to pay our respects and honour him in the way we know he would want us to; by racing,” said Russell.
“In terms of British sport, Sir Frank was an incredibly important figure. Not just because of the adversity he faced, but because of the success that the team went on to achieve following his accident. He was somebody that so many people looked up to.
“He would be wheeled around the whole factory and there was this presence in the room whenever he was around. It motivated the team to really get on with their jobs and be so dedicated, because of the man he was.”
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi agrees that Williams will be racing for Sir Frank this weekend, and the Canadian says his contribution to Formula 1 cannot be underestimated.
“There is no doubt that the whole the whole team will be racing for Sir Frank this weekend,” said Latifi. “His contribution to Formula One cannot be underestimated, and to represent his name on the world stage has been an honour.
“We’ll continue to push hard to take the team back up the grid.”
“Frank’s legacy will live on” – Dave Robson
Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, says the team will continue to honour Sir Franks legend in Formula 1, and he knows the legacy that he brought to both the team and to Formula 1 will go on.
Sir Frank moved away from the day-to-day running of the team before they were sold last year, but his presence at Williams was always strong, and Robson says the passion, strength and enthusiasm he showed against all the odds will continue to provide motivation to everyone within the team.
“The sad events of last weekend mean that this is our first race weekend without Sir Frank Williams as the patriarch and figurehead of the Williams organisation,” said Robson.
“Although he had only very rarely been at the track in recent years, he still had a strong presence in the garage; his passion, strength and unstinting enthusiasm providing additional motivation to those of us fortunate enough to race the cars bearing his name.
“Although an era ended last weekend, Frank’s legacy will live on and we will continue to race in the manner that he would expect, drawing upon his memory as a source of pride and inspiration. We send the Williams family our deepest sympathies and reassure them that we will continue to honour his legend.”