Frank Williams, architect of seven Formula 1 drivers’ championships and nine constructors’ championships, has died. He was 97.
After a brief career as a driver, Williams turned his attention to the business side of the sport with the experience he developed working as a traveling salesman. He opened Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966, then by 1969 joined the F1 grid with a Brabham chassis he had purchased for friend and colleague Piers Courage. After two runner-up finishes in their first season together, new partners came aboard, leading Williams to a partnership with Alejandro de Tomaso. That deal fell apart when Courage died in a race during that 1970 season.
Williams kept the team afloat until Walter Wolf joined in 1976, at which point he sold 60% of his stake in his own team to keep it afloat. Wolf quickly hired someone to work over him, leading him to sell the rest to Wolf and step out to create a team of his own.
That program, Williams Grand Prix Engineering, has raced in Formula 1 every season since.
For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.