Frank Williams, founder of the Formula 1 motor racing team, has died aged 79

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Frank Williams, founder and former boss of a team that bore his name and still ranks among the most dominant and successful in Formula 1 history, died on Sunday at the age of 79.

Sporting chief executive Stefano Domenicali, former Ferrari boss, paid tribute to the Englishman and said the F1 family had lost a “much loved and respected member”. “He was a true giant of our sport who overcame life’s toughest challenges and fought every day to win on and off the track,” the Italian said in a statement.

“His incredible accomplishments and personality will forever be etched in our sport.” Williams had been paralyzed since 1986 when, at the age of 43, his rental car crashed as he drove away from the Le Castellet circuit in the south of France where his team were testing.

One of the oldest quadriplegics, he responded to physical obstacles by leading his team to ever greater success as he watched from his wheelchair in the team garage. “In my opinion, I’ve had a fantastic 40 years of some sort of life,” he told his late wife Ginny after the accident. “Now I will have another 40 years of another kind of life.”

In 2012, he entrusted the day-to-day management of the team to his daughter Claire, even though she had always been officially deputy director. He was admitted to hospital on Friday and the UK-based team said he “passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family”.

Williams was sold to US firm Dorilton Capital last year and the family is no longer involved. Under his leadership, the team won nine constructors ‘championships and seven drivers’ titles, most recently with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, and 114 grand prix – the last in 2012.

Only Ferrari has won more constructors’ titles. ALWAYS IN DEBT

Australian Alan Jones in 1980 was the first to win a driver’s title in a Williams and was followed by Finland’s Keke Rosberg in 1982. Brazilian Nelson Piquet won his third title with the team in 1987 , Briton Nigel Mansell celebrated his first and that in 1992 before Frenchman Alain Prost completed the fourth of his career in 1993.

Damon Hill, who led the team on the right track after three-time champion Ayrton Senna died in a Williams at Imola in 1994, won the title in 1996 before Villeneuve completed the roster. “Sir Frank has given me such a chance in my life that I am indebted to him forever,” said Hill. “He was a very important person for my career and also a huge contributor to our sport.

“His record will last a very long time. As an individual team owner, as a team founder, there won’t be another one,” Hill told Sky Sports. “The only person I could compare him to is probably Enzo Ferrari.” Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said he felt honored to have called Williams a friend.

“What he accomplished in this sport is something really special. Until his last days I know he remained a runner and a fighter at heart. I have the utmost respect and love for this man, and his legacy will live on forever, ”said the Mercedes. driver. Williams entered the sport in 1969, gifting a Brabham to fellow countryman Piers Courage, and established Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977 with co-founder Patrick Head.

In 1992, with a highly innovative car designed by Adrian Newey, Williams won 10 of 16 races. In 1996, they won 12 of 16.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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