The Williams team has won 114 F1 victories, as well as seven drivers ‘titles and nine constructors’ crowns, to become one of the best-known teams on the grid.
Frank Williams originally founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977, having previously driven cars in Formula 2 and Formula 3.
He chose to join his own F1 team after a tie-up with Canadian oil mogul Walter Wolf did not go as he had hoped.
Forming a close alliance with longtime Chief Technical Officer Patrick Head, Williams’ unwavering determination came to the fore as he helped transform the team into F1 winners in a matter of years.
Williams saw Clay Regazzoni claim a first victory for the team at the 1979 British Grand Prix, with his first double in the F1 Drivers ‘and Constructors’ Championship a year later when Alan Jones finished the season in the lead. .
The Williams team would go on to win championships with Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.
Despite success on the track, Williams faced his own personal challenges after being confined to a wheelchair since a car crash near the Paul Ricard Circuit in France in 1986.
Sir Frank Williams, Team Manager, Williams
Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
But he never let his disability affect his goal of doing everything to make his team as successful as possible, as he and his team played a pivotal role in F1 during the boom years of the late 80s and from the 90s.
Williams also suffered a tragedy himself in 1994 when Ayrton Senna was killed while driving the team at the San Marino Grand Prix. Since that day, every Williams car has carried the logo of the late Brazilian driver.
After leaving the Williams board in 2012, Williams handed over many responsibilities to his daughter Claire who became the team’s deputy director.
But amid the escalating costs of involvement in F1 and competitive challenges, the Williams family sold the team to Dorilton Capital in September 2020.
As the team operated under new owners, they vowed to keep the famous moniker that has become so well known in F1 circles.
A team statement on Sunday said: “Sir Frank was a true legend and icon of our sport. His passing truly marks the end of an era for our team and for the sport of F1.
“He was one of a kind and a true pioneer. Despite considerable adversity in his life, he led his team to 16 world championships, making us one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport.
“His values, including integrity, teamwork, fierce independence and determination, remain the foundational philosophy of our team and are his heritage, much like the Williams family name we proudly run under.”