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Sir Frank Williams one of F1’s last great pioneers who despite adversities led team to nine constructor’s championships

, Sir Frank Williams one of F1’s last great pioneers who despite adversities led team to nine constructor’s championships

SIR FRANK WILLIAMS, who passed away today, was one of the last of Formula One’s great pioneers.

His name was proudly displayed across the doors of his F1 team since 1966 and during that time he achieved some notable success.

Sir Frank Williams and Nelson Piquet in 1986
Sir Frank with the Williams-BMW car in 2003

The Williams F1 team have notched up 114 wins, nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championship titles during his reign.

He started out as a racing driver and mechanic before establishing his own team in Formula Two and Formula Three.

Williams made the step up to F1 in 1969 and the team finished twice on two occasions that season.

He was desperate to make the team successful but with limited resources his hands were effectively tied.

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At one point he conducted his business from a telephone box after his phone was disconnect for unpaid bills.

A failed partnership with a Canadian oil company led to him setting up his new team in Grove in 1977, where they are still based today.

, Sir Frank Williams one of F1’s last great pioneers who despite adversities led team to nine constructor’s championships

Sir Frank smiles during the first practice session at Silverstone in 1997

Working alongside his closest friend Patrick Head, they achieved their first victory in F1 in 1979 when Clay Regazzoni won the British GP at Silverstone.

The following season, Williams did the double and clinched the constructors and drivers’ championship titles.

However, the team suffered a tragic loss when Ayrton Senna crashed and died while driving for them at the 1994 San Mario GP.

Williams too suffered his own accident which resulted in him suffering a spine cord injury, which left him confined to a wheelchair.

He crashed a hire car in France in 1986 while he dashed to Nice airport to catch a flight back home.

He was married to Virginia in 1974, and she lost her battle with cancer in 2013. Together they had two sons, Jonathan and Jamie, while their daughter, Claire ran the F1 team until last year.

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, Sir Frank Williams one of F1’s last great pioneers who despite adversities led team to nine constructor’s championships

Sir Frank and his daughter, Clair, at the world premiere of ‘Williams’ in London, 2017

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