Frank Williams will live and race on forever.
The motorsport world has lost one of its most valuable members this Sunday. Frank Williams left this world at age 79. His passing has brought sadness to everyone involved in the sport, not just Formula 1. There’s a reason for that, Sir Frank is a legend worth remembering every single day for everything he did to the sport. A legend that will never die.
A Man of Racing Cars
Sir Frank’s beginnings were almost as humble and as extraordinary as his life as a whole. Frank Williams Racing Cars started it all as he and Piers Courage graduated together from Formula 2 and made it into F1 with a used car from Brabham and the bare minimum staff. That didn’t seem to matter as he managed to put his car on the podium scoring second-place finishes at the U.S and Monaco.
Williams Racing Cars would turn into Wolf-Williams Racing years after the tragic death of Courage at Zandvoort in 1970. When he found himself out of the team he had founded, he joined forces with Patrick Head and so, Williams Grand Prix was born.
From Carpet House to Championships
The ma who started his team off a carpet house saw 1986 change his life forever. The avid runner could no longer use his legs after a crash put his life in danger. He was not supposed to live but his determination and resilience kept him alive to witness the rise to stardom of a team that had already become everything he wanted to after a World Championship in 1980.
Under Williams’ leadership, Britain’s greatest racing team conquered seven World Championships and introduced one of the most technologically advanced pieces of machinery to ever laid rubber on a track in the form of the FW14B and FW15C which crowned Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost in 1992 and 1993 respectively.
Times were never as bright after Jaques Villeneuve’s 1997 World Championship. Nonetheless, Sir Frank’s team served as the first step of the ladder for future champions such as Nico Rosberg and George Russell. He was also the boss of drivers like Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld and Valtteri Bottas.
The team was sold in 2020 in a move that only a man like him could do, he did everything under his power to save his team and bring it back to the top of the standings. His final move was the wisest, but above all this, are all the personal qualities that make him an immortal figure in this sport, one that inspired millions who grew up watching him: Yours truly is one of them.
“Who is he?… Why is he in a wheelchair?”
I Fell in love with Formula 1 a little over ten years ago thanks to my grandfather who has watched the sport for much longer than I’ve been alive. One of the first things I ever saw was Frank Williams’ face. “Who is he?” I asked, “Why is he in a wheelchair?”. Over the years I saw him, always focused and yet, always happy to be there, happy to dedicate his life to his lifelong passion. You don’t see that very often, not in motorsports, not in sports in general.
Like him, I was not supposed to live due to reasons I won’t get into and, a few months ago I made the decision to focus my sports journalism career solely on motorsports with the hopes and the dreams of one day making a living out of covering every single Grand Prix from trackside. That decision was inspired by Frank himself, who took every adversity and made the best out of it dedicating his entire life to the one thing he loved.
As I write this and try to hold back tears, I feel nothing but gratitude to one of the men who made me a fan of this wild sport we all know and love. At the same time, I feel sad for all the new fans who never got a chance to see him as much on the tv screens.
Race on Forever
Sir Frank Williams will no longer walk among us but his memory will live on forever. It sounds like an old cliché but people like him live in our minds and hearts for centuries. Frank was no ordinary human being, he will live and race on forever.
Frank Williams: 1942-2021
Featured Image: Formula 1