Williams is one of the world’s leading Formula One teams. It exists purely to race in the top echelon of motor racing, where it’s been winning grands prix for more than three decades.
The Williams name has been synonymous with top-level motorsport since the 1960s. After running teams on the sport’s nursery slopes, team patron Frank Williams founded Frank Williams (Racing Cars) in 1966 and he entered F1 in 1969 with his friend Piers Courage behind the wheel.
Frank quickly earned a reputation as one of the industry’s more determined individuals and after selling his controlling interest in his original team, he established Williams Grand Prix Engineering with British engineer Patrick Head in 1977. They built their first car, the FW06, the following year and the team immediately went from strength-to-strength. Williams is now the third most successful team on the grid.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Williams has won 16 FIA Formula One World Championships (nine for constructors, in partnership with Cosworth, Honda and Renault, and seven for drivers, with Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve). The team has scored 114 victories, 297 podiums and 127 pole positions.
The team’s endeavours have earned Frank Williams a knighthood, as well as the French equivalent, the Légion d’honneur. The company has two Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement and it’s recognised as one of the most enduring and successful organisations in sport.
Over the years Williams has nurtured many great talents, both in the cockpit and in the design office. The team gave Ayrton Senna his first F1 test in 1983; it was with Williams that Nigel Mansell scored his first grand prix win, in 1985, and his only world title in 1992, and it was with Williams that Damon Hill took all but one of his 22 race victories and the ’96 world title. The list could go on.
Some of F1’s cleverest technical brains also cut their teeth at Williams. The list of Williams’ design alumni includes Adrian Newey, Paddy Lowe, Ross Brawn, Neil Oatley and Frank Dernie, and we’re equally proud of our current technical team led by Technical Director Mike Coughlan.
Engineering excellence is at the heart of Williams’ DNA. Whether it’s building the carbon fibre chassis of this year’s FW35, or our own seven-speed, seamless-shift, semi-automatic gearbox the team aims to obtain performance and reliability from every component on the car. As a result, it takes a lot of pride in the constructors’ trophies it has won because the constructors’ championship is the most accurate gauge of a team’s performance relative to its rivals. On nine occasions in its history, Williams has beaten everyone.
The team’s business model is unique in the pitlane. While many of the other teams are extensions of multinational companies’ marketing departments, Williams is wholly independent; it exists solely to go racing. Its commercial partnerships must drive value back to its partners’ companies.
To meet these expectations, the team has grown exponentially since 1977. What started out as a group of 17 people has mushroomed into a company that now employs more than 500 people at its technology campus in Grove, Oxfordshire.
“This is the toughest era of F1 that I have been involved with,” says Frank Williams. “The standard of engineering in the pitlane is very high indeed and for that reason we must always strive to do better. The next race is the only thing that matters in F1.”