George Russell would be sad today. As would Nicholas Latifi and Claire Williams, much like the entirety of the entire Williams racing marque would be at loss of words. To run a team in the sport considered both rip-roaring fast and ultra competitive can, in itself, be such a huge thing. But then it is one thing to be running an F1 team and something quite other to run a successful franchise. A franchise that turns out into being a legacy in itself. Now that the man who turned the racing team into a legacy is gone, one just doesn’t know what to say or do. Sir Frank Williams is no more.
The news regarding Sir Frank Williams’ passing was announced by the iconic Formula 1 racing team in an official statement issued to the public bringing to one and everyone’s notice a piece of news that’s really sad.
After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.
“Today we pay tribute to our much loved and inspirational figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed. We request that all friends and colleagues respect the Williams family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”
In a sport where just about everyone wants to be seen and noted as a racer, a driver, a competitor; Sir Frank Williams was no less than father figure. He was a builder of a team, a founder of many a amazing talent and above anything, a huge earning in what can be called a treasure trove of F1 goodness.
That Sir Frank Williams created a team that molded several promising racing journeys into memorable F1 careers was in itself a huge achievement. It was an accomplishment that no yardstick that stands for defining the quantum of success can’t fully measure or convey the significance of.
Today as one reflects on the careers of Sir Damon Hill, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Rosberg among countless others, you are instantly reminded of the gentleman- determined and driven- who gave these marvelous men their first big F1 breakthrough.
Damon Hill and Rosberg, of course, achieved their career highs in that they were the sons to famous father and son duo to win an F1 world title.
Having said that, there were also legends of the class of Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell whose bold and brave driving would take the Williams racing team to ecstatic heights. Both drivers- one, a gentle giant from England and the other, a great Frenchman, would take the world title in their Williams in 1992, 1993, respectively.
The South Shields, United Kingdom-born former Englishman started out as a mechanic and would soon after become a driver. What was extraordinary in some ways and deserves every bit of respect and adulation is that Sir Frank Williams was actually closely involved in the journey and career of a driver whose surname epitomized the Englishman’s own life story: COURAGE!
Piers Courage and Sir Frank Williams became an important duo in the sixties in that Sir Williams managed the racing journey of the famous Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers for many years, which was before Mr Williams became involved in motorsport’s top flight.
For someone who never lost an inch of interest in Formula 1 despite having been wheelchaired for a period of no less than three and a half decades (ever since his crash in France), the life of the famous former F1 team principal was mired in success and fame.
Now, as a new generation of F1 drivers goes out there to make its own destiny, thoughts will go out to Sir Frank Williams and his legendary constructor as being that banyan tree, whose roots will most likely continue to touch that generation that often spends more time in salons, cafes and not so much in gardens and biodiversity parks!