40 YEARS OF WILLIAMS RACING
Our tribute to one of the most successful F1 teams
Williams has never sold road cars to fund its racing efforts, instead it exists purely to race in the top echelon of motorsport, F1
WILLIAMS GRAND PRIX ENGINEERING celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017. Established by Frank Williams in 1977 from the bones of Wolf-Williams Racing (itself formerly Frank Williams Racing Cars), it has defied its independent status by becoming one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of all time. It sits third, in fact, behind Ferrari and McLaren, but unlike either of those teams, Williams has never sold road cars to fund its racing efforts, instead – as the team itself puts it – it exists purely to race in the top echelon of motorsport, F1.
The team has taken nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championships, and boasts a personnel roster that has included some of F1’s biggest names. Drivers such as Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna have all raced for the Wantage-based team, and that impressive roll call is only likely to increase as the team now works hard to regain its competitive streak.
Williams has enjoyed plenty of success outside Formula 1 too, tackling everything from Group B rally monsters to Le Mans-winning prototypes, achieving considerable success in touring cars, and working with the newly reformed Jaguar Racing to engineer one branch of motorsport’s future: Formula E cars. With further arms in aerospace, defence, the energy sector and automotive engineering under the Williams Advanced Engineering banner, the company’s contribution outside F1 can almost match its presence within the racing world.
Therefore, over the following pages we take a look at a handful of key people and moments from the team and company’s first four decades.